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The Wooded Garden project at Hare Hill

Visitors in the garden at Hare Hill, Cheshire
Visitors in the garden at Hare Hill, Cheshire | © National Trust Images/Paul Harris

The Wooded Garden at Hare Hill is being restored to improve the health of the plants and wildlife, and better reflect the vision of former owner Charles Brocklehurst and garden designer James Russell, who worked on this garden in the 1960s.

The Wooded Garden

In the 1960s, Colonel Charles Brocklehurst, the final owner of Hare Hill, worked with garden designer James Russell on the Wooded Garden. Russell designed the 20th-century borders in this ornamental part of the garden, sending frequent letters to Colonel Brocklehurst with descriptions of the plants he recommended.

Many of the changes that Brocklehurst and Russell made to Hare Hill have become lost or overgrown over the years. Thanks to support and funding from the Oglesby Charitable Trust, Russell’s design plan and the letters between the two men are being used to renew and recreate these original plans.

The Family Garden

The Family Garden is a large area to the west of the Walled Garden. It’s the oldest part of the ornamental garden at Hare Hill, landscaped by the Brocklehurst family when the Walled Garden was built in the early 20th century.

The evidence is that the family and guests would enter the garden through this area and the family had a high-quality, semi-formal entrance created.

There were stone edges to borders, decorative stone urns and wide steps leading to the iron gate of the Walled Garden, with original hollies and conifers from 1900 plantings. The ‘twin’ cedar trees, probably planted in honour of the birth of twins Charles and Patrick, are sadly now diseased.

Hare Hill Walled Garden in the summer, white bench just off the path
Hare Hill Walled Garden in the summer | © National Trust Images

Restoring the Wooded Garden


Clearing and restoring the planting in the Family Garden

Over time, the trees and shrubs planted by Francis Brocklehurst in the late-19th century, along with those planted by James Russell for Colonel Brocklehurst in the mid-20th century, became overgrown. This meant light wasn’t reaching the ground and much of the underplanting had been lost. 

During 2019, the overgrowth in this area was removed or thinned back, opening up space and allowing more light to reach the ground. It has also revealed the ornamental brickwork on this side of the Walled Garden. The brickwork on the opposite side of the garden is plain, which shows that it was the back of house area used by the gardeners.

In 2020 the borders were re-planted the way they were intended, using the plants James Russell selected wherever possible and adding a new layer of planting inspired by the plans from 1960 onwards. 

The walled garden in June at Hare Hill, Cheshire


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