Like many great estates, Hylands in the past had its own icehouse, home farm, kitchen garden and watercress beds, all of which produced food for the table.
After undertaking some research, we decided that it would be a nice project to try and restore the watercress beds back to their former glory so this winter the Estate Volunteers got to work. The tanks have been left for quite a few years with only minor maintenance so there was many years of sludge and sediment to clear, making it a very wet and muddy task.
Most of the built-up sludge has now been removed and fresh shingle added to provide a better bed for the watercress to enable it to grow. The beds are spring fed from Lightfoot Spring and if managed, will produce watercress from spring through to late autumn. We plan to go back more often to maintain the area and see how it progresses.
We would appreciate it if you could try to keep dogs from going into the beds for a dip as this damages the watercress.