Our conservation work at Montacute House
The National Trust team at Montacute House work hard to ensure that this late-Elizabethan mansion and its garden are maintained all year round. Here, we highlight some of the important jobs that we’ve undertaken in recent times.
Reshaping Montacute’s yew trees
The garden at Montacute House is known for its yew trees, and keeping them in tip-top condition can sometimes require radical treatment.
The 30 yews along the West Drive were pruned back hard in 2020, restoring them to their original form. These sentinel yews were planted in the 19th century as part of a tiered arrangement of three ‘avenues’. But over time, the growth of the trees behind the yews had pushed them out of shape.
The job involved unwinding the wires that bind the branches together, and then cutting the branches back. The result looked a bit scary at first, but had to be done to stop the Irish yews splitting and breaking.
Before working on the yews along the West Drive, the garden team tackled the yews on Cedar Lawn in 2019, reducing the height and width significantly. You'll see that green shoots are now sprouting on the bare branches.
Restoration of the North Garden
This part of the garden was built at the same time as the house and was designed to be seen from above. After 1845, William and Ellen Phelips moved into Montacute House, and the garden was remodelled within its original structure.
The lines mown into the grass outline the original 17th-century parterre. The design has been taken from original historical plans – the short grass represents paths and the longer grass where the flower beds would've been.
Our ambition is to use the plans and photographs from 1860, when the garden was remodelled, to re-image and replant the parterre.
Replanting the roses
The rose border is part of the restoration; It was planted in the 1970s and many of the roses were starting to fail. The plants have been removed and the border left fallow so that the weeds can be treated and the soil re-conditioned.
The border will be replanted in a style more in keeping with the parterre restoration and the wider garden. We will still plant roses for summer colour, but will also introduce smaller shrubs to add interest for the remaining months.
With your ongoing support, we're able to continue our vital conservation work. Thank you for helping to protect these special places.
Step inside an Elizabethan Renaissance masterpiece at Montacute House, with its historic interiors, beautiful furniture and fantastic portraits.
Whether it’s a quick bite to eat or some retail therapy you’re looking for, Montacute House is sure to have something for you.
Explore the garden of Montacute House throughout the seasons. See the yew trees, affectionately known as ‘wibbly wobbly’ hedges, or take a few moments of tranquillity in the Orangery.
Explore the ground floor of the house at Montacute in Somerset, home of the rare Tournai Tapestry.
Walk the estate at Montacute House and discover nature, views and landmarks to enjoy throughout the season. Bring along your dog and enjoy wide-open spaces.
If you’re looking for things to do together this autumn, why not head over to Montacute House? There is plenty to keep the whole family happy.
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