Henry Lascelles bought the land in 1738 using money from the West Indian sugar trade. Henry committed suicide in 1753 and in 1759 his son Edwin commissioned John Carr to replace the medieval Gawthorpe Hall with a new house renamed Harewood House. Edwin also instructed Lancelot Brown to create the landscape park with the Y-shaped lake; the work was finished in 1779. Humphry Repton proposed changes to the design in the early 1800s while Charles Barry created the terrace garden in 1844-51. Harewood House Trust maintain and develop Harewood ‘for the public benefit’ while the house is lived in by David Lascelles, the 8th Earl of Harewood. The main parts of the Brownian landscape, the lake, cascade and rides, can still be seen as well as the Himalayan Garden, the Lakeside Garden and the Walled Garden.
The Bird Garden is sited on a natural slope. Paths are surfaced with asphalt and most have handrails. Regrettably, service dogs are not permitted in the Bird Garden but please enquire at the Information Centre for a member of staff to guide you around. The Woodland and Lakeside Walks are surfaced with gravel and some have natural steep gradients.