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The garden at Hinton Ampner

The Walled Garden and All Saints church at Hinton Ampner, Hampshire. A stone square church tower with a tiled roof is visible beyond large shrubs, with tall trees to either side
The Walled Garden and All Saints church at Hinton Ampner, Hampshire | © National Trust Images/Chris Davies

Discover the ever-changing garden at Hinton Ampner. No matter what season you visit, there will be something to delight and inspire. With exceptional views over the South Downs from the south lawn, the Sunken Garden with its lily pond and the productive walled garden, there is always something beautiful to enjoy.

Autumn in the garden

Hinton Ampner’s garden is bright with colour in autumn. There are hundreds of vibrant dahlias to enjoy, all around the grounds. This year, the garden team planted almost 1,000 dahlia tubers and the wet summer combined with a warm sunny autumn have produced some beautiful displays.

There are over 20 different varieties on show, from tight pompoms to dinner plates the size of your hand. A favourite with visitors is deep pink Fascination, which fills long borders in the sunken garden. Rich orange dahlia David Howard with its dark foliage can be found in the yew garden. In the walled kitchen garden you’ll find the eye-catching lilac-tipped Ferncliff Illusion.

The kitchen garden is also home to a lush vegetable garden, brimming with leafy produce in autumn. There’s a colourful pumpkin patch too, watched over by Hinton’s friendly scarecrow. In October, decorative pumpkin displays dress the garden. Look out for them on benches and shelves, nestled in barrels and carts, in front of the house, on the terrace and in other prime spots.

Vegetables growing in the Walled Garden in July at Hinton Ampner, Hampshire. All Saints Church (Not National Trust) can be seen in the distance.
Vegetables growing in the Walled Garden at Hinton Ampner | © National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

The Walled Garden

A conventional country estate walled kitchen garden, it is laid out traditionally with cruciform pathways, vegetable beds, herbaceous and shrub borders. Look out for the modest glasshouses, used for growing soft fruits and exotic house plants.

Dating back to the original Tudor house, it is thought that the Walled Garden could have originally been the hop garden. At approximately one-and-a-half acres in size, it lies to the north of the house and greets visitors as they come in the main entrance.

Lined with heritage espalier apple and pear trees, the garden is once again being used to grow a rich variety of fruits and vegetables, with a flower-cutting border at its heart. This productive garden supplies the café with homegrown produce throughout the growing season.

The orchard

The orchard is located on the site of the old Tudor house. Edged by low, clipped box hedges it is home to several varieties of flowering cherries and fruit trees. Cleverly designed with a symmetrical layout, it’s carpeted with hundreds of bright yellow daffodils in the spring.

The grass in the orchard is left to grow naturally throughout the spring and summer to provide a habitat for wildlife. The pathways align with the gateway to the kitchen garden. Discover a corner of peace and seclusion on the bench set obliquely against the backdrop of the church tower.

The House and lily pond at Hinton Ampner
The lily pond at Hinton Ampner in spring | © National Trust Images/Zoe Cotton

The lily pond

To the east of the house, the rectangular lily pond sits flanked by a pair of recumbent sphinxes leading up to the drawing room windows, framed by pink cherry blossom in the spring and fragrant pale pink rose borders in the summer. At the opposite end, a bench provides the perfect retreat for quiet contemplation throughout the seasons.

The formal garden

The formal parterres to the south of the house comprise a beautifully maintained lawn and several attractive borders edging the pathway in front of the house. They bloom with many different varieties of flowers throughout the year, from heavenly scented pink lilac and unusual tulip varieties in the spring, to huge red poppies and diverse herbaceous borders in the summer. Benches along the stone walkway provide the perfect vantage point to admire the breathtaking views out across the South Downs.

A stone balustrade adorned with climbing roses and honeysuckle separates the formal garden and the elegant stone steps down to the Sunken Garden. To the western end of the terrace lawn a stone nymph is framed by a branch of a large horse chestnut and set against a background of parkland and wide-open sky.

The Sunken Garden

The Sunken Garden sits below the front lawn to the south of the house, with far-reaching views over the South Downs. Created in 1934, the centre is laid out with four rectangular beds that change with the seasons.

The long walk

The long walk, over 200 yards in length, is a grass path running below the south terrace, passing through the centre of the sunken garden and through to the old tennis courts. This formal walkway features masterfully shaped and maintained Irish yew hedges on either side of the path.

Tennis court and temple

One of the oldest features of the garden, the tennis court is one of the more remote areas of the garden, providing a large tranquil expanse of lawn.

The elegant temple, built around 1939, features a porphyry bust of Poppaea (wife of Nero) on a column. Tucked away in skilfully planted shrubberies, it provides the perfect place to sit and admire the view south onto to the parkland and lime avenue.

The Dell

Originally an old chalk pit, the Dell is a hidden and unexpected feature of the garden. Planted with evergreen shrubs around the top and enclosed with box hedges to create a serpentine walk down to its centre, the Dell has a wonderfully luxuriant, tropical feel to it. Sheltered by a canopy of ash and lime trees, it provides a quiet and meditative space for moments of reflection.

The North Drive

Comprising a variety of evergreen trees and shrubs, the North Drive creates a strong contrast to the open pasture and scattered trees of the parkland beyond with a magnificent yew hedge artfully clipped into a lively abstract pattern.

At the north end of the vista, a stone urn sits regally overlooking the site of the Battle of Cheriton, framing the old brick ha-ha and views of the parkland. The southern half of the drive curves elegantly round to reveal the view towards the front of the house.

Silent Space

Silent Space is a charity that encourages gardens open to the public to reserve an area where visitors can take time to reflect quietly and to enjoy the beauty of the garden and the sounds of nature without distractions.

Hinton Ampner’s garden is all about tranquillity but we also have a dedicated area in The Dell for quiet contemplation. The area is marked on our visitor maps or do ask a member of the team for directions.

For more information on Silent Space, visit the website:

The south front at Hinton Ampner, Hampshire

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