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Reimagining the garden at Berrington Hall

Vibrant lilac wisteria in full bloom against a backdrop of clear blue sky.
Working to restore a historical feature with the revival of the wisteria walk | © Paul Harris

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.

The Garden Project began in 2016, incorporating archaeological research and specialist advice to fully grasp the original designs of the gardens. It was revealed that original eighteenth-century design elements and desired early nineteenth-century influences got lost or hidden due to later changes in the garden's evolution. These findings, coupled with Brown's designs, are now actively guiding us in the creation of a new flower garden and visitor journey through the pleasure grounds.

As we develop plans to deliver this work to enhance both the visitor experience and heritage of the garden, we will share updates with you to explore prior to your visit to Berrington. Check out the upcoming developments and what has already happened below.

Flower Garden and Pleasure Grounds

As part of the the Garden Project, we are planning to recreate the original delightful experience the garden wanted to give its guests through new herbaceous and creative planting, new and interesting structural features, restoration and conservation of some of the original structures, and improved accessibility for all with a new path network and surface. This will provide a clearer journey to and from the house and will be more closely aligned with Brown’s original path design.

Entrance of Berrington Hall featuring yell balls, a lush lawn, trees, and the Georgian mansion in the background.
The new garden design will change the entrance to return to its original intention of providing guests with a grand arrival into the pleasure grounds | © James Dobson

Changing the path network

Our plans involve re-aligning paths and restoring the Wisteria Walk to elevate the grandeur of the original design. We will adjust the path network closer to its original layout, ensuring a grand entrance into the pleasure grounds. This will improve accessibility, enabling more people to have a better experience and more access around the gardens. The paths, initially designed for scenic views, will now conceal and reveal, surprising and delighting visitors. This captures the essence of how ‘Capability’ Brown and Thomas Harley, Berrington Hall’s first owner, intended guests to feel as they journeyed around the pleasure grounds. The paths will follow Brown’s original design, revealing glimpses of the walled garden and newly planted flower beds. These features are designed to intrigue wanderers, enticing them with scents, colours, light, shade, and showcasing the horticultural skill and planting structures within the space.

Extending the flowering season

Currently, flowers bloom mainly in summer, from June to September. We aim to extend the garden's beauty year-round, shifting the main flowering season from March to October. Our plans also involve planting additional shrubs and trees, providing garden structure in autumn and winter, and reimagining a former flower garden that borders each side of the fountain between the yew ball path and the current wisteria walk. We’re creatively incorporating 14 of the existing 26 much-loved yew balls, which will be prominently placed within new flower beds and celebrated with new structural and colourful planting to help create 'spectacles' within the garden. The Georgians were huge fans of eye-catching spectacles, and we hope the new planting designs will inspire visitors with new ideas for their own gardens at home.

Recreating historic features

A Wisteria Walk once existed along the southern wall of the walled garden. What remains of it can still be seen today and our plans include reinstating it, ensuring the pathway leads people to its ‘surprise reveal,’ recreating an important historical feature and offering a new seasonal delight and experience within the garden. In the past, a Laurel Walk once connected the former Wisteria Walk and West Avenue, offering delightful strolls with layers of surprises - interesting plant species, colour, and an abundance of plant and flower beds. The realignment will transform the pleasure grounds with less lawn while maintaining space for activities like games, reading, picnics, and quiet moments.

Embark on this transformative journey with us as we breathe new life into Berrington Hall's historic charm. Stay tuned for further updates on this ongoing project.

Illustrative drawings

Colorful illustration capturing the view from an arch to the courtyard, featuring two paths bordered by shrubs and plants.
View from Arch to the Courtyard at Berrington Hall | © National Trust

Improving accessibility

The changes will improve accessibility, enabling more people to have a better experience and more access around the gardens.

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The Curve

The Curve is a very special of Berrington's garden. Designed as part of Capability Brown's final landscape, Berrington's curved walled garden is the only one of its kind globally that has survived the centuries almost entirely intact. In recent years, work has taken place to conserve and protect this unique space, removing the 20th century farm buildings and making necessary repairs to the walls and the Carpenters Workshop. Once this work was completed, we began a Research and Development project to explore new possibilities for The Curve, delving into the many ways people historically engaged with outdoor spaces and how that relationship continues to evolve.

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

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