Skip to content

Our work at Saltram

Two gardens working on the garden beside the pond at Saltram, Devon
Working by the pond at Saltram | © National Trust Images / Mel Peters

Maintaining Saltram’s house and estate provides plenty of work for our team of staff and volunteers. We recently completed a project to conserve the beautiful Orange Grove in the garden here. Despite work unexpectedly grinding to a halt during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, the much-needed conservation to the central pond kicked back up and was completed in spring 2021.

Conserving the Orange Grove

Work to conserve the Orange Grove in the garden at Saltram was forced to pause in March 2020 when staff were sent home during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Fortunately, funding was found to revive the project and the project was completed one year later in spring 2021. The Orange Grove is looking the best it has in a long time and once again it’s the beautiful, secluded space at the heart of the garden.

A National Trust gardener Tim Harris works to move citrus plants out of the Orangery at Saltram, Devon
Moving the citrus plants from Saltram's Orangery | © National Trust Images / Paul Harris

What was the problem?

The beds surrounding the Orange Grove had actually improved in recent years. However, its central pond was in dire need of conserving. Several leaks were found in the pond liner, due to the fact it had perished over time.

The central fountain was also no longer working and the coping stones around the pond edge needed to be reset and repointed. Problems with poor draining and weeds growing through the gravel were caused by the condition of the subsurface too.

What work was carried out?

In order to repair the pond lining, a thin layer of concrete was put down over the old lining. Then, a thick layer of fibreglass was laid over the top to create a new, durable lining that should last many years.

While the concrete was still curing, all the ducting and pipework for the pond’s pump, filter and fountain were installed. Plus, the coping stones around the pond edge were reset, while keeping them in their original location.

Improving pathways and plants

New gravel was added to existing paths surrounding the pond, which were in a poor condition. Existing plants were rearranged, new plants were added and the citrus planters and benches were given a fresh lick of paint.

Find out more about the conservation work that took place in this video on Saltram’s Orange Grove, presented by the Head Gardener Martin.

What’s next?

Looking ahead, the garden team hope to focus their conservation efforts on a different part of the garden each year. Check back to see what other projects we undertake on the Saltram estate.

Thank you

With your ongoing support, we're able to continue our vital conservation work. Thank you for helping to protect these special places.

A gloved hand lifting a painting off of a wall to reveal the original dark red wallpaper colour behind it


Everyone needs nature, now more than ever. Donate today and you could help people and nature to thrive at the places we care for.

You might also be interested in

A visitor touching plants in the garden at Saltram

Things to do in the garden at Saltram 

Explore a garden full of seasonal bursts of colour and scents to fill the senses at Saltram, with views across the River Plym and garden walks.


Green Minds project at Saltram 

Saltram continues to put nature at the heart of its decisions with the Green Minds Plymouth project. Find out how the project has helped to change and shape Saltram for future generations.

Visitors with a child talk to a volunteer inside the Welcome Centre at Saltram, Devon

Volunteer opportunities at Saltram 

Saltram is always looking for volunteers to join its dedicated team and offers a variety of opportunities.

A flock of Canada geese sit on the water, with grassy banks and autumn trees in the background

Exploring the park at Saltram 

Explore beautiful countryside nestled amongst Plymouth’s urban environment at Saltram. Woodland, estuary and open green spaces provide the backdrop to this city escape.

A visitor touching plants in the garden at Saltram

The history of the garden at Saltram 

A garden made for entertaining guests amongst the Amphitheatre and Orange Grove, Saltram has plenty of history, both outside and in.

A man looking down the guard around a tree sapling, in a landscape dotted with other newly planted trees

Our cause 

We believe that nature, beauty and history are for everyone. That’s why we’re supporting wildlife, protecting historic sites and more. Find out about our work.

A group of people walking along a grassy path through an avenue of trees in full leaf

For everyone, for ever: our strategy to 2025 

Read about our strategy 'For everyone, for ever' here at the National Trust, which will take the organisation through to 2025.