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Our work in the garden at Nuffield Place

A view of the house and garden at Nuffield Place from the front framed by foliage
A view of the house and garden at Nuffield Place | © National Trust Images/Alex Prain

Nuffield Place in the Oxfordshire countryside was once home to Lord Nuffield, William Morris, one of the richest men of the 20th century. Both he and his wife, Lady Nuffield, enjoyed spending time in the garden and the team here has worked hard to restore it to how it would have looked when they lived here in the 1950s.

Creation of the garden

The four-acre garden, much like the house, isn’t extravagant. It was created for the personal enjoyment of the Nuffields, who both loved to spend time outdoors. It was originally designed in conjunction with the house in 1914, laid out by Oswald Partridge Milne. In particular, it was a favourite spot of Lady Nuffield, who took on the role of ‘gardener-in-chief’, working alongside three full-time gardeners.

Restoring the grounds at Nuffield Place

Our dedicated team of staff and volunteers used old photographs from the Morris family archives to help them restore the garden to how it would have looked in the mid-1950s.

To volunteers scything and raking by a fence on the edge of a road
Volunteers scything and raking the driveway at Nuffield Place, Oxfordshire | © National Trust Images/Alex Prain

Changes the team has made

The Rock Garden

This was one of Lady Nuffield’s most-loved areas, but had become overgrown. The team removed all the plants and top-soil then left the area for a year to allow the invasive weeds to clear. They then filled the Rock Garden with a variety of alpines and rock plants.

Purple-plum avenue

The Nuffields planted an avenue of purple-plum that ran across the Red Oak Lawn as part of a circular estate walk. Over the years, several of these trees were lost and the remaining few removed. In 2015, the team replanted the avenue with young trees.

Rose Walk pergola

The pergola over the paved Rose Walk was in a poor state, so the team dismantled it. They lovingly rebuilt a new pergola and replanted the roses.

Beech woodland

In the beech woodland, the team cleared laurel and holly, which was preventing the natural regeneration of the beech trees.

Close-up of a black and white butterfly on a thistle
A marbled white butterfly feeding on a thistle at Nuffield Place, Oxfordshire | © National Trust Images/Alex Prain

Recreating natural meadow

The team also worked towards restoring the natural meadow for the benefit of the wildflower and butterfly populations. They introduced sheep grazing in 2015 and paths were mown to discourage visitors taking alternative routes through the natural meadow. In the summer, this area comes alive with grasshoppers, and the populations of meadow brown, ringlet, marbled white and common blue butterflies have soared.

Decorative metal gate with cow design, outside at Nuffield Place, Oxfordshire


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