Whilst many visit these locations to admire the grandeur of the stately home and it's immediate surroundings, I often find that it is in the odd corners of a property that the really useful scenes can be found. Take this corrugated barn, a listed structure, that would make an interesting prototype for a model:
This was apparently once open-sided and it is thought the side panels were re-use of materials left on the estate by the army in war time.
Close by is this garage structure. Not only would it make a great miniature railway shed, but it also appears to be a full size kit-bash of the Wills 4mm scale garage kit!
This gateway caught my eye, not least because it was freshly restored, but also the layout of the hinges and just how useful it and the wall either side would be on a layout:
Those with the space for an estate railway may wish to include a folly of some sort (by the way I am aware of a 1/24th scale layout on just these lines):
I must admit that on previous visits to Belton as a child I cannot remember the folly being there. This may be due to it's proximity to the entrance to something that would be a big distraction, the adventure play area and miniature railway. In what must be one of my first miniature railway photos, here is the Mardyke 'Deltic' in the early 1980s:
Happily both play area and railway are still going strong, both having seen much investment in recent years. In fact, the miniature railway has gone through complete renewal over the years, new locomotives, followed by new coaching stock and trackwork. The old shuttle out and back layout has been replaced with a new station mid-way along the line and balloon loops either end. Sadly the charming original station area is now grassed over with little to hint at the past. The new station, incorporating the stock shed, is impressive in itself and quite model-able:
I'm not about to model an estate railway but one very useful piece of inspiration I did get was about ground surfacing. This acted as both confirmation that the work I have completed so far on my 009 project is right, and a reminder that in some areas brown scatter is just not enough, there are factors such as leaf litter to consider. On which point I have now dried out and opened up some tea bags...