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300th Anniversary of Capability Brown
2016 marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, a designer who changed the national landscape and created a style which has shaped people’s picture of the quintessential English countryside. He transformed the face of eighteenth century England, designing country estates and mansions, moving hills and constructing flowing lakes and serpentine rivers, a magical world of green. He was responsible for more than 200 gardens and parks, and over 150 still survive today. As the first ever celebration of Brown’s extensive works, the Capability Brown Festival 2016 brings together a huge range of events, openings and exhibitions throughout the country running between March and October.

There are three wonderful Capability Brown sites in Dorset: Milton Abbey, and Sherborne and Highcliffe Castles. However the national Festival organisers have selected fourteen ”regional hubs”, out of the Brown sites, and Milton Abbey in Dorset has been chosen as one, confirming that it is one of the most exceptional landscapes in England. A major multi-media exhibition will be the highlight of the local Festival.


Milton Abbey from St Catherine’s

This major exhibition in July and August will be called ’A Capability Brown Experience’. The show will include a new film featuring John Phibbs, the leading expert on Brown, as narrator, artwork by Royal Academician Stephen Farthing; artist and author Tim Scott- Bolton; eleven artists of Dorset Visual Arts, embroidery from the National Association, interactive digital imagery, photography from a range of leading photographers and games for children.  The exhibition will be open from 10am to 5pm daily from 3rd July. More details can be found on

Talk and visit on 11th July
Talk, Visit and Lunch Invitation for CPRE Members: 11th July at 10.30 am
There will be a special opportunity for members of CPRE, as well as NADFAS and the Dorset Gardens Trust, to attend a talk by Brown expert, John Phibbs, and visit the ‘Capability Brown Experience’ multi- media exhibition at Milton Abbey. A two course buffet lunch is optional. Picnics are possible as well and there will be guided walks in the afternoon.  

Price for event on 11th July:  £38 with lunch. £18 without lunch. Please apply for tickets to Michael MacAvoy on email:
Dorset CPRE Group Meetings. County Shows. Annual Dorset Branch AGM . Summer Garden Party.