Garden lovers love Herefordshire. It’s the perfect place to meander around some of the most enchanting gardens in England.
The county, with its collage of meadows, fields and woodland, has a favourable climate and unspoiled landscape, making it a favourite area in which to choose a holiday cottage. To take full advantage of Herefordshire’s peace and quiet, here are some tranquil gardens open to the public that would complete your stay.
Stockton Bury is in Kimbolton, near Leominster and has an abundance of charm in every season. It’s a working farm that has been developed over several decades to become one of the UK’s best-loved gardens and sits among some of Herefordshire’s most prized unspoilt countryside. Set around medieval farm buildings, and with many rare and unusual plants, it covers around four acres in total.
The gardens are divided into themed areas that include The Grotto, Elizabethan Gardens, the Secret Garden, the Long Walk and Dingle Gardens among others. There’s also a working kitchen garden, pigeon house, pools, cider press, a mock ruined chapel and a tithe barn. The Tithe Barn Restaurant serves up traditional farmhouse fare (vegetarian too) using produce from the kitchen garden and farm along with other locally sourced ingredients.
Bryan’s Ground Gardens is in Letchmoor Lane, Stapleton, Presteigne, which is on the border with Wales. The gardens here have colour-themed borders, formal pools and follies in a beautiful Edwardian setting. These outstandingly lovely gardens integrate some awe-inspiring designs, which are the work of professional garden designers, and the publishers of the garden journal HORTUS.
The gardens themselves cover around three acres and they’re further set in twenty-five acres of river meadows, which offer stunning views to Wales. Divided into a series of ‘rooms’ which were begun in 1913, Bryan’s Ground offers visitors follies called ‘The Sulking House’ (complete with its own gothic garden), ‘The Lighthouse’, and ‘The Belvedere’. No one could fail to be delighted with the scented flowers, the topiary and the rose gardens.
Abbey Dore Court Garden is also well worth a visit. About 12 miles from Hereford city and sitting at the south end of the Golden Valley, it’s open from early spring until autumn. Laid out over six acres, it also boasts a one-acre walled garden with no fewer than nine borders separated by brick pathways, arches and a water sculpture.
If you’re visiting Abbey Dore Gardens, you’ll want to walk the riverside arboretum – there are plenty of seats supplied – the owners encourage you to sit and enjoy the peaceful setting. The Court gardens are close to the famous mid-12th century Cistercian Abbey so lots to look around if you’re in the area.
Westonbury Mill Water Gardens are close to the half-timbered village of Pembridge. It covers over three acres and contains ponds, a corn mill and a variety of interesting follies. The follies provide some light relief. One of them, a dome-roofed fernery, is fashioned from sunlit wine bottles and another, a castellated tower, has gargoyles that spurt jets of water.
As you might expect from its name, the Water Gardens specialise in water-loving plants and there are paths over the bog garden area to allow visitors to view the plants properly. The unusual African summerhouse incorporates bull rushes from the pond and is a good spot in which to view the wild flower meadow. The café serves home-cooked food and teas or you can sit beside the stream and take in the lovely view across the meadow to the hills.
A stay in Herefordshire wouldn’t be complete without visiting one of its delightfully peaceful gardens, many of which have specialist nurseries. Take something home for a lasting reminder of your garden visit to the county.
Choose your ideal holiday cottage at Herefordshire Cottages.
For more information on places in Herefordshire, follow the link in the resource box below.