Restoring the Upper garden

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At the heart of the Quarry Bank estate lies the Upper garden.

Created in the early 1800s by the Greg family, its glasshouses and kitchen garden provided food and cut flowers, while its pleasure grounds were a place to bring guests to enjoy woodland walks and cliff top views.  Hidden away, the garden fell into decline until in 2010 this last piece of the Styal estate jigsaw was bought by the National Trust.

At this time the Upper garden was virtually derelict but in its heyday it would have been a spectacular sight.  The glasshouses are some of the earliest of their type and the whole garden contains an array of Victorian technology.

Here’s a glimpse of some of the work we have done since 2011 and what we hope to accomplish during 2012.


In the summer of 2011 we were able to open a small section of the garden for visitors while our garden team worked on clearing the debris and cutting back undergrowth to find pathways and hidden features. There was an archaeological dig to find the lost melon house and research in the archives to learn the story of the people who had worked here.

In the winter of 2011 whilst the garden was closed, we began to restore the woodland and cliff top walks. Work took place on the buildings and plants and vegetables were brought back into cultivation.


We started to restore more of the rediscovered pathways through the garden - as a result you'll be able to walk to Norcliffe Point and enjoy fine views.

Our estate joiner and engineer began restoration of the Victorian Alpine House; the small glass house in the centre of the kitchen garden, originally used for exotic alpine species. Meanwhile, the main glass houses will continue to be surveyed ready for restoration and any repairs needed to make them safe will be carried out.

The Long Border brought to life

The planting of the Upper garden will begin with the restoration of the Long Border, a herbaceous border that ran in front of the glass houses and was used to provide cut flowers for the Greg family's homes. The pathways around the Slip garden where staples such as potatoes were grown will also open.

Upper garden opening

The Upper garden will open in spring 2013 - keep an eye on the Quarry Bank web pages and in local press for details. We're also hoping to introduce a new transport link along this route, to allow visitors to reach this top part of the garden more easily.