The garden at Castle Drogo

The sunken rose garden at Castle Drogo

Over 100 years ago a debate was taking place on the building site of Castle Drogo. Lutyens, the architect and Mr Drewe, the owner, were disagreeing over where to put the new garden.

The garden

Lutyens proposed an elaborate terraced garden on the east side overlooking the gorge, he remarked in a letter, “the lowest terrace of all might be thought extravagant, but it gives such easy access to the Moors that it is worthwhile.”
 
But Julius Drewe wanted a private garden away from the castle and where his family could relax out of sight of the servants. This position was no easy task as the garden had to be cut out of the rock and then dug into terraces.
 
In the end, Drewe won the argument, and the final result was a 12 acre formal garden with Lutyens commenting, “Mr Drewe has been out going through the garden plan and has selected the size of the garden which gives about half an acre with walks through the wood to the tennis lawn.”
 
Lutyens got his own way on the deisgn however, creating a very modern style of garden with lots of interconnecting vistas. As a former head gardener once noted, “The garden is an extension of the castle, with granite walls, domed Ironwood trees and ‘corridors’.

Summer flowers

Highlights in the garden this month are the pink, orange and red roses. The herbaceous borders are bursting with colour.

The rose garden

Mr Drewe also created a rose garden for his wife Frances, as roses were her favourite flowers. However, nearly 100 years on roses aren’t the easiest flowers to grow at 250 metres above sea level.

The Bunty House

Julius Drewe also created for his daughter, Frances a red and white Bunty House at the top of the garden complete with its own miniature cottage garden, complete with vegetables and flowers.

The secret Bunty House at Castle Drogo has its own miniature garden
The Bunty House, a children's playroom, in the garden at Castle Drogo, Devon

The Luncheon House

The adults also had their own playroom, a summerhouse. It was designed by Lutyens for the Drewe family to use on their visits to see the castle being built.

Rhododendron garden

Located at the bottom of the garden the rhododendron garden is a quiet spot to look out over the views of Dartmoor.

Croquet Lawn

This circular lawn is full of children’s games in the summer, such as tennis and croquet.

Bringing your dog?

Earlier in the year the gardeners created a new dog walking path. This new path goes around the outside of the formal garden and into the orchard and rhododendron garden. You can download the map below.

Castle Drogo dog walking map (PDF / 0.7MB) download