Gardens and Parkland

Elizabethan arrival

Montacute surrounded by buttercups © Visitor@Montacute

Montacute surrounded by buttercups

Discover why the front is the back and the back is the front with the help of one of our Volunteer Guides. They'll be able to tell you all about the missing gatehouse and how Montacute would have been viewed in days gone by. Learn how the Elizabethan visitor arriving on horseback would have seen the house, and how the villager in the fields would have viewed it during construction, when it was seen as the most modern of houses.

Ask at reception on arrival for more details.

Alive with the sound of water

A tranquil place to sit and ponder © National Trust

A tranquil place to sit and ponder

For the first time in many years the cascade in the Orangery will be living up to its name. During the winter the central feature of the Orangery was restored and now water trickles from above, enhancing new plant life.

As well as restoring the cascade we have also been busy planting over 60 ferns into Edwardian terracotta pots, helping to recreate the atmosphere of the Orangery.

Totally tulips

A splash of colour

A splash of colour

Spring is finally in the air and the gardeners are getting excited about the flowers that are on their way. We planted over 6,000 bulbs back in the autumn, 4,000 of them tulips.

According to the packet, our tulips should be flowering in late April, however last year they arrived in late March, so keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter pages for news of their appearance. If you want to see them looking particularly good, come down early in the morning or late afternoon when the angle of sunlight can shine right through them, making them look as if they are lit from within.

Five fantastic views

  • West Drive to Montacute House © NTPL

    West Drive

    Get the full lantern effect of the house and its walls of glass from the top of the West Drive

  • Lime Walk in the parkland  © Montacute Staff

    Lime Avenue

    Stroll to the top of the Lime Avenue and admire the view as an Elizabethan visitor

  • Stunning architecture © Montacute Staff

    East Court

    Be inspired by the walls of glass, the glow of ham stone, and the architecture of house

  • Strormy Cedar Lawn © Deanne Lewis

    Cedar Lawn

    Get the full wibbly wobbly wonder from the Cedar Lawn

  • View from the tower © Montacute Staff

    See Somerset

    A panoramic view of Somerset from St Michael’s Tower

It's a wibbly wobbly world

Wibbly Wobbly © National Trust

Wibbly Wobbly

We believe that the hedges are about 150 years old. Until 1947 they were a similar height and depth but straight, without all the lumps and bumps you see today. During the harsh winter of 1947, heavy snow remained for weeks, if not months, causing the flat tops of the hedges to collapse under the weight.

This often happens but the snow usually disappears quickly and the hedges bounce back to their original shape. However, by the spring of 1948 the snow had made such an impact that the hedges did not bounce back. Over time the collapsed hedges became lovingly known as ‘wibbly wobbly’.

Hedge management

Gardener clipping the ’wobbly hedges’ at Montacute House © NTPL

Gardener clipping the ’wobbly hedges’ at Montacute House

The hedges are English yew and we start cutting them in August each year. The job normally takes about three months because there is over a mile of hedging that needs a trim. By cutting the hedges in August we can be sure that the plants have finished growing for the season, which leaves them crisp and clean for the winter and the next season before they become hairy again.

The wibbly wobbly hedges take two people ten days to complete and we use electric hedgecutters, platform scaffolding and a cherry picker to reach the tops.

We feed the hedges with a balanced tree and shrub fertiliser every few years to keep them fit and healthy.