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The Ha-ha

March 6, 2011

The ha-ha, widely used in landscape gardens in the eighteenth century, is a dry trench used to separate grazing animals from the areas immediately around a house.  To illustrate, here are photos of the ha-ha at Flintham Hall in Nottinghamshire, England, which I visited in 2005 as a student on the Attingham Summer School Programme.  The ha-ha is thought to have its origins in military fortifications, specifically, the stockade ditch, in which the inner wall of the ditch was embedded with pointed poles to prevent a frontal assault.  The ha-ha’s function in the landscape garden was to allow the lawn to appear to seamlessly extend from the house to the horizon, without the interruption of a fence.

 

 It is interesting to think how larger scale devices such as a sunken river or highway, running through the middle of a city, can act in a similar way to a ha-ha, separating physically two areas, yet uniting them visually.

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