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The Curve at Berrington Hall

Two women walking along a grass path in the walled garden, lined with apple trees and flowers, the latter of which they are admiring.
Visitors enjoying a stroll through the walled garden in the sunshine | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Designed as part of Capability Brown's final landscape, Berrington's curved walled garden is the only one of its kind found globally that has survived the centuries almost entirely intact. Thanks to the support of Arts Council England, the internationally renowned artist Ivan Morison of Studio Morison has returned to Berrington Hall to research and develop new ideas and possibilities for the 'Curve', with the assistance of partner groups.

The unique curve

In 2016, a project was launched to explore the importance of Berrington's walled garden and pleasure grounds. After 18 months of surveys, reports, and archaeological investigations, it has been determined that the space holds great significance. Interestingly, it was discovered that this garden was, in fact, Capability Brown's final walled garden design before his passing in 1783.

Research has shown that in the eighteenth century, the Curve may have been used for growing exotic fruits, potentially including pineapples. More recently, the space served as a shelter for livestock by the historic family for nearly 120 years. From May 2019, the Curve came back into the care of the National Trust, and a generous grant from the DCMS Government Culture Recovery Fund in 2021 enables vital conservation work to be carried out to save the iconic and very special curved walled structure which visitors can see today. As part of this process, the livestock building was removed, unveiling the extent of the former produce garden space.

An aerial view of the walled garden at Berrington Hall showing the orchard, kitchen garden, and curved walled garden filled with farm buildings.
The walled garden at Berrington Hall in 2018, with farm buildings in the Curve. | © J. Hargreaves

Research and Development

The removal of the farm buildings and lean-tos from the Curve has left us with a blank canvas, meaning that we can revisit and explore future possibilities for the space. The support received from Arts Council England has meant that we’re able to welcome back renowned artist Ivan Morison, of Studio Morison to Berrington Hall. In 2018, Studio Morison brought the iconic Look! Look! Look! pavilion to Berrington Hall, a thought-provoking art piece designed to explore how people used to relate to outdoor spaces, and how they continue to do so today.

The removal of the farm buildings and lean-tos from the Curve has created a blank canvas, offering an opportunity to explore and reimagine the space. Thanks to the support of Arts Council England, renowned artist Ivan Morison from Studio Morison is back at Berrington Hall to revisit the garden project, developing new ideas and possibilities for the future of the Curve. Building upon his previous contribution in 2018 with the iconic, thought-provoking art piece Look! Look! Look! pavilion, Ivan will continue to delve into the exploration of how people historically engaged with outdoor spaces and how that relationship continues to evolve.

Throughout 2023, Ivan has been using the newly renovated Carpenters Workshop within the Curve as an artist's studio, working in partnership with students from the Hereford College of Arts and the Sidney Nolan Trust's young people's programme, Cultivate. They have been working collaboratively to deliver workshops, open studio sessions, and pop-up exhibitions to provide inspiration and ideas for future experiences within the Curve.

A wooden door with a sign indicating the entrance to The Curve garden, summer plants and flowers adorn the front.
Entrance to The Curve, part of Capability Brown's final landscape, at Berrington Hall | © Paula Marrett

Working with partners

This research and development project has provided a great opportunity to engage with young artists throughout the region, starting up two partnerships with local groups.

In early spring 2023, Fine Art students from Hereford College of Arts developed their own artistic response to the Curve, exploring the meaning and potential of the space, and creating their own temporary exhibition and engaging visitor programme.

The exhibition was launched on 30 April and featured interactive, sculptural, and sustainable artworks created by the students, inspired by the unique space that the Curve represents and the rich history of Berrington Hall. The students also hosted a series of community and family workshops which encouraged participants to create their own art pieces, intuitively led by the students.

For more information about Hereford College of Arts, visit their website.

The second partnership is between Berrington Hall and the Sidney Nolan Trust's young people's arts programme Cultivate. This programme is an opportunity for young people, with an interest in the arts, to develop their creative thinking and making skills, offering a unique social space for 15 – 25-year-olds to work alongside artists and other professionals with a broad range of expertise In recent months, Cultivate actively contributed to the research and development of the Curve by collecting artefacts and using photography, illustration, film and sound to explore and express new concepts and possibilities for the space.

Find out more about Cultivate on the Sidney Nolan Trust's website

Large timber wood fills the frame, set against the backdrop of an almost untouched garden space.
Timber wood is part of research and development happening at the garden at Berrington Hall | © Paula Marrett

Continue Development

Substantial timber pieces sourced from another local National Trust place, Croft Castle, were deliberately placed within The Curve to act as placeholders for possible future use. This introduction of large wooden forms alters the way the space can be explored and comprehended.

The research and development project at Berrington Hall's curved walled garden has been an extraordinary and transformative journey, invigorated by the return of renowned artist Ivan Morison and collaborative partnership groups. Stay updated through our events page to explore opportunities for involvement with The Curve's activities and witness the exciting developments taking place within the space.

Our partners

Arts Council England

Arts Council England invest public money from government and the National Lottery to make sure everyone's creativity is given the chance to flourish and we all have access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences.

Visit website 

Seat under a quince tree in the Walled Garden in May at Berrington Hall, Herefordshire.

The garden at Berrington Hall 

Berrington is an internationally significant garden and final landscaping masterpiece completed by ‘Capability’ Brown, packed with signature features to enjoy.

Vibrant lilac wisteria in full bloom against a backdrop of clear blue sky.

Reimagining the garden at Berrington Hall 

Berrington Hall stands as a 'Capability' Brown masterpiece, his final landscape design. Research into Berrington Hall’s walled garden and pleasure grounds has revealed the rarity and significance of this garden, and we’re working to both conserve and reimagine this historical treasure.