The Walled Garden

The Walled Garden was laid out on the site of the kitchen garden of the old Tudor House in the 1860s when the house was re-modelled in the Victorian gothic style by John Thomas Dutton, Ralph's grand-father. The layout was exactly as you see it today except all four quartiles of the garden were given over to produce rather than just the one you see today. There has, therefore, been continuous cultivation of the site for some 500 years.

Fruit tree always lined the central east-west path and we believe some of these trees are originally from the 1860's planting. The walled garden was the responsibility of one man for most of Ralph Dutton's time and he died within five months of Ralph in 1986.

What is now the Visitor Centre was once Ralph's Orchid House which accounts for the roof lights on the north, garden side of the building, allowing him to reproduce the jungle type conditions associated with these plants.

After Ralph's death, until 2005, the Walled Garden was the Tenant's private garden and it was during this period that the green houses fell into decline. This period also saw the construction of a swimming pool, outside the Visitor Centre, and a hard Tennis Court on what is now the vegetable garden. These were removed in the Winter of 2006 as the first part of the restoration of the Walled Garden.

The soft fruit beds have been restored under the North wall and the perennial plantings under the fruit trees are now thriving. Ralph Dutton always grew cut-flowers for the house in the Walled Garden and we have re-introduced this, in front of the long greenhouse.

The greenhouses have been restored by our team of volunteers, including one lost in the hurricane of 1987. The remaining green house, also lost in 1987, has now also been re-instated as a vine house which it was in Ralph Dutton's time. We have been able to identify the grape varieties originally grown and these have now been planted outside the vine house but will be trained to grow inside to both protect and ripen the grapes.

The Winter Border created on the south side, either side of the wooden gate as you walk in, has now matured and looks spectacular in late winter. It will be extended a few yards towards the shop during 2017.