Discover the garden at Oxburgh Estate
The original garden at Oxburgh, created by the 6th Baronet during the Victorian period, has long since disappeared, however what you see today mirrors it. Wander along the colourful herbaceous border, discover what’s in season in the kitchen garden, and explore the less formal areas, including the Wilderness and My Lady’s Wood.
This kitchen garden would have originally supplied the family. Today you'll find a wide array of heritage vegetables and fruit, and salad crops grown for you to enjoy and take home. Many of the fruit and vegetables are grown from seed and are heritage varieties, including skirret, a forgotten Tudor root vegetable that was often added to salads like spring onions. There is also a cut flower garden filled with Dahlias and Alstroemeria.
In a corner of the garden, you’ll find the glasshouse where some of our plant collection are grown and hosts our beautiful semi-tropical display. Re-built in 2010 by a group of volunteers to reflect an earlier Victorian glasshouse, rainwater from the roof now provides water for the beds and an energy saving air source heat pump heats the building.
The kitchen garden also has a potting shed which now hosts our second-hand bookshop.
Look out for the bell in the tower, but be warned as the old poem next to it reads, ‘if you ring this bell, the gardeners will come; should you ring in jest, then we hope you can run.’
Within the orchard you’ll find fruit trees from around East Anglia, including heritage varieties from Norfolk. With the exception of a couple of older medlar and quince trees, the apple and pear trees are a recent addition, as work takes place to re-establish the orchard that once grew here.
The grass here is managed as a wildflower meadow and cut using the traditional method of scything – it’s at its best in June and July.
The Parterre, known by the family as the French Garden, was created for the 6th Baronet in 1848 following a trip to France. Traces of coal and cement suggest it was originally coloured with minerals as well as flowers, before being planted with potatoes during the Second World War to help with the war effort.
The Parterre Restoration
Every thirty or forty years, the Parterre needs a major refresh and replanting to keep it looking good. The Parterre was last completely refurbished in 1972, with smaller refreshes occurring since then. With the effects of climate change and the damaging effects of disease on the Parterre’s hedging, the time has come to carry out another major restoration of this wonderful garden feature.
An archaeological dig took place in April 2023 and in the summer a topographical survey will be carried out to help us accurately recreate the 19th century French design and correct levels within the Parterre and in the surrounding lawns.
Discovered items include pottery sherds which date back 200 years prior to when Oxburgh Hall was built, civil war pistol shot balls and the sill plate of an original house on the estate.
Once we know what the findings of the archaeology are, we will carry out works to restructure and resurface the pathways in the Parterre to reduce weed germination and protect the infrastructure of the 19th century French design.
Staff and volunteers will be excavating paths and relaying them with a new substrate and surface through autumn and winter 2023/4.
We expect the whole project to be completed by Spring 2026.
The Herbaceous Border
This long bed is planted in repeating patterns. A high hedge originally ran alongside the grass path and there were doors at either end. If the family story is true, it was used as a secret garden by Lady Augusta Bedingfeld, who could enjoy the colourful border unseen, while she was pregnant (which happened 11 times).
This border is currently seeing restoration works which includes a new archway in the hedge, creating a window with a view across the Parterre to the hall.
The Wilderness was created in deliberate contrast to the more formal gardens that immediately surrounded country houses. Just like other areas of the garden, this was also the vision of the 6th Baronet.
Here he used scented shrubs, evergreen planting and mature lime trees to help create a romantic illusion of an untamed landscape. Purposely designed not to be overlooked from the house, instead managed views create natural windows out across the parkland.
My Lady’s Wood
Similar to the Wilderness in its design, the 6th Baronet diverted part of the River Gadder through this area of woodland, which he named after his wife, Margaret.
The Victorians enjoyed hearing the sound of flowing water and so he built a summerhouse next to a flowing cascade, as a place to pause and listen. From here you can enjoy great views back towards the hall.
Silent Space is a not-for-profit initiative that creates opportunities for silent reflection in numerous green spaces in the UK.
They provide a reserved area for people to switch off from technology and to enjoy a moment of silence in the company of nature.
You can find Oxburgh’s Silent Space tucked away at the far end of the inviting Wilderness lime walk. A welcoming space for visitors to settle on a bench and tune into the birdsong, or just take a moment to relax, switch off and be present.
For more information, visit the Silent Space website.
Whether you're building a den, becoming a nature explorer or searching for secret doorways, Oxburgh has plenty to keep the whole family entertained.
Oxburgh Estate is a two pawprint rated place. To help everyone have a fantastic time when you visit with your dog, we ask that you follow this guidance.
Oxburgh has been home to the Bedingfelds for more than 500 years, and they still live within private apartments at Oxburgh today. Discover what you might see on your visit.
Oxburgh Estate is nestled on the edge of the Norfolk Brecks, where the land meets the wide-open Fenlands. Discover the wider parkland, and the wildlife that makes their home here.
Enjoy something to eat and drink in the newly refurbished Servants' Hall tea-room or the Pantry café during your visit. You'll also find a shop and the Potting Shed second-hand bookshop.
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