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Dudley Council the historic capital of the Black Country
Dudley Skyline

The Leasowes is a historic landscape, listed as Grade I on the English Heritage list of parks and Gardens of historic interest in England.

Designed by the poet William Shenstone between 1743 and 1763 the site is one of the most important and influential landscapes of the 18th Century and is considered to be one of the first natural landscape gardens in England.

Today, the Leasowes is of major historic significance, ranking in importance with such landscapes as Blenheim and Stowe. It is the diverse landscape of wooded valleys, open grasslands, lakes and streams created by Shenstone that makes the site so important for wildlife. The site has been managed with nature in mind since the mid 18th Century and as such provides a wealth of different habitats for birds, mammals, invertebrates and locally uncommon plant species.

Wardens

The jobs undertaken by the wardens are many and varied. Probably the single most important job is talking to people and helping them get the most out of their visit. Other tasks include fencing, litter picking, tree work, hedge laying, tree planting, visitor management, path maintenance, wildlife surveys, habitat management, working with schools and recruiting volunteers.

Much of the work we do is seasonal; hay meadows are cut in the summer, woodland management and hedge restoration work is usually carried out during the winter months. Litter picking is unfortunately an all year round task.

Wardens are highly skilled individuals who are practically minded and can turn their hands to most things.

You can view further photos of the Leasowes on Flicker.

Volunteering

  • Our volunteers come from all walks of life and commit varying amounts of time to helping out on site. Tasks are many and varied, but concentrate on practical management activities.
  • If you enjoy wildlife and like to work outdoors come and register as a volunteer with us.
  • It is a great way to keep fit, meet people and make a difference to the environment.
  • Tasks include fencing, hedge laying, tree planting, hay making, wildlife surveys and much more.

Contact the wardens for further information.

Hawne Basin

Emerging from the short Gosty Hill Tunnel (no towpath) the canal passes through the former tube works and now ends at Hawne Basin where there are moorings. Originally the canal continued on to Selly Oak passing through the notoriously long and narrow Lapal Tunnel. It was the repeated collapse of sections of this tunnel that resulted in the remainder of the canal being closed in 1917.

A short un-navigable length remains in the Leasowes. The canal embankment here closed off the view from the poet William Shenstone's famous landscaped gardens in 1797. We are restoring the grounds but in the meantime there are still many pleasant strolls alongside the streams running through the woods. The more energetic can follow the series of footpaths which lead south to Illey and Lapal (not shown on the map).

The now disused section of the canal that runs from Hawne Basin to Selly Oak is under gradual renovation by the Lapal Canal Trust.

Heritage

Find out more about the Heritage of the Leasowes.

  • Leasowes Park