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The garden at Croft Castle

Purple flowerbed at Croft Castle, Herefordshire
Purple flowerbed at Croft Castle, Herefordshire | © National Trust Images/Eleanor Dobson

Be enchanted by the homely garden at Croft. Follow the sweeping border along the drive or sit and listen to the birds in the church garden. Look out for seasonal produce growing in the walled garden and discover some of the heritage apple varieties.

Spring in the garden

In spring, signs of life return to the garden with frogs and toads in the pond and blackbirds and thrushes singing in the mornings. Bumblebees and butterflies can also be spotted. In early spring snowdrops and crocuses flower, with daffodils to follow, filling the gardens with colour after a long winter's rest.

Walled garden

Follow the paths dating from 1823 around the walled garden to discover a variety of seasonal flowers all year round along with traditional and rare apple varieties. The garden also has a small vineyard, containing a variety of grape known as 'Phoenix'. It produces a white table wine that's refreshing and crisp to drink. According to the garden team, vines are a bit tricky to grow within a walled garden, requiring careful love and attention.

You'll find vegetable, fruit and salad borders, where fresh, seasonal produce is grown for visitors to enjoy in the Carpenters tea-room.

In the walled garden you'll also find the 1914 'J. Weeks and Co' glasshouse which is currently being restored by the garden team. Unfortunately, this means that you’ll only be able to admire this structure from a distance at the moment. Plants grown inside the garden are sometimes on sale; keep a look-out or ask one of the garden team on your next visit.

A family sitting on a bench under a tent-like structure weaved out of willow in the walled garden.
Go bird watching under the willow wigwam in the walled garden | © National Trust Images / James Dobson

The Georgian stables

You can see where some of the Croft horses lived in the Georgian stable block. The carriage horse stalls are now home to the second-hand bookshop but some of the original hunter loose boxes remain today.

St Michaels and All Angels Church

This 15th-century church is located next to the castle and within the garden, and is still used as a parish church. The garden team tend to the churchyard garden and if you take a look inside the church, you can see the tomb of Sir Richard Croft, who fought in the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross in 1461 during the Wars of the Roses. Parts of the church date from the 12th and 14th centuries and the original medieval tiled floor is a patchwork of the church's history.

Apple trees

The majority of the apple trees at Croft are thought to have been planted in the 1920s, judging by some of the archive photos. There is a collection of 60 mature specimens of around 30 cultivars. Old Herefordshire varieties at Croft include Adam’s Pearmain, Brown Snout, Doctor Hare, Downton Pippin, Gennet Moyle, King’s Acre Bountiful and Herefordshire Beefing.

In a field of about two acres near the farm at Croft there is a collection of very old apple trees, twisted with age but still productive. Some lie on their sides like wrecked ships and the smallish green apples with a red flush have an odd, somewhat ancient flavour of well-matured cider with a peppery aftertaste.

Everyone welcome

The paths in the garden are fully accessible to wheelchairs and pushchairs all year round. Dogs are allowed in the walled garden too, so you can see the vineyard and beautiful borders and stroll all the way around the castle.

Family holding hands approach the gatehouse at Croft Castle, Herefordshire.

Discover more at Croft Castle and Parkland

Find out when Croft Castle is open, how to get here, things to see and do and more.

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