The Skylight Garden

Lean back, relax and explore our vast Fenland skies from the Skylight Garden.

Opened to the public in 2016, the Skylight garden is located at the northern end of the East Lawn, and consists of two elements; an inner circle of twelve oak structures surrounded by hazel bushes, silver leafed pleached lime blocks and ornamental grasses; and two triangular shaped beds planted with Lilac bushes each side of a central design. The prairie style under planting offers a beautiful display of lilacs, and it's set to bloom during the late summer and early autumn, extending the summer blooms into the autumnal months.  

A special anniversary

The garden was designed and created by former head gardener, Richard Todd, along with the help of the garden team. It was part of a wider celebration to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the passing of the 1st Lord Fairhaven, and the National Trusts ownership of Anglesey Abbey. This is clearly shown within the design, as the team chose a semi-circle base to mirror the circular features found elsewhere in the gardens - the skylight garden is the tenth circluar design across the 114acre garden. It's also by no accident that there are twelve oak structures, with Lord Fairhaven's love of clocks and hirology at the centre of the idea. 

It has two styles of planting; a formal set of lime hedges, and then the prairie style under planting, giving the garden texture with various different grasses. Arguabley it's most memorable feature, however, are the twelve cloud-gazing structures that sit in the centre. The oak structures are designed to support visitors as they lean back to enjoy the vast Fenland skies – perhaps to identify cloud formations or just to watch the ever-changing shapes and images created them as they pass across the sky. If you look very closely, there is one structure that has more significance than the rest, as it points northwards. It has, in Oggham script, marks that show the direction and also the types of trees around the area.

Cloud gazing structures at Anglesey Abbey

As a result of Lord Fairhaven's untimely death in 1966, he never had chance to finish the gardens. The National Trust has been maintaining and increasing the design elements of the garden since the bequest after his premature death. It is with the continued support and kind donations of our members, visitors and volunteers that we've been able to introduce this commemorative space into the gardens that Lord Fairhave was so passionate about. 

Next time you're with us, take a moment to rest on these structures and look to the sky above you to take in the beauty that the fenland skies have to offer.