A surprising 18 C device was introduced usually 8 feet deep, to separate and secure the gardens from grazing park livestock, and to assist drainage, hence the amusing name ha-ha.
Formal flowerbeds disappeared and were replaced by lawns up to the house windows, creating wide views over the park.
Walks led east and west through informal shrubberies and pleasure grounds, sometimes towards the kitchen garden or to a nearby church.
Ha ha at Hainton (Image: Steffie Shields)
A serpentine ha ha is typical of the work of ‘Capability’ Brown such as the example at Hainton, (HE Grade II) and 9 feet deep in places at Burghley House, (HE Grade II*), after restoration. Note the coping stone laid under the turf to protect the structure and, importantly, keep its line.
Ha ha at Burghley House (Image: Steffie Shields)