Things to see and do at The Weir Garden
Discover the 10-acre site at The Weir Garden, split between the natural riverside garden and the productive walled garden and glasshouse. Here’s what to look out for when you visit, from views over the Wye Valley to an unusual walled garden, as well as the wildlife that visit and call The Weir Garden home.
Autumn and winter wildlife at The Weir Garden
Wildlife is easier to spot in the autumn and winter months, with the trees losing their leaves. Many of the migratory birds are enjoying the succulent berries on the hedgerows and juicy worms, trying to keep on the extra layer of fat that’ll keep them warm throughout the winter.
Visiting finches add splashes of colour to the frosty gardens and larger varieties such as thrush and fieldfare can be spotted, their plumage even more beautiful during the colder months. Waterfowl will be abundant on the River Wye throughout winter. Keep your eyes peeled for passing goosanders, mallards, mute swans and goldeneye.
Up in the trees, the rooks will be roosting; children love to hear the wonderful noises they make. Listen out for woodpeckers drumming on the trees as they begin their courtship displays in winter, we have both great spotted and green woodpeckers here.
The Weir can be a magical place in winter, with wildlife abundant alongside the banks of the River Wye. Why not beat the winter blues and see what you can spot when you’re next here?
Waterfowl plumage is at its finest this time of year, especially mallard drakes, with their striking green and purple feathers. Other, less common waterfowl are also on the river this time of year, such as pintail, goosander and goldeneye.
The rooks in the garden roost together in the treetops for warmth and safety. The sound of the drumming of a male woodpecker trying to impress a mate echo around the garden
There are many species of fish in the river and the garden boasts one of the biggest ever caught on the Wye in 1846; a giant royal sturgeon, over 8ft long.
The riverside garden
The riverside garden covers the area between the mansion house and the River Wye. The mansion is now a private nursing home, but the views from the top path take in the broad Wye Valley as it meanders across rural Herefordshire.
Built in 1920, the boathouse is hugely significant at The Weir, being one of only a few to remain alongside the Wye today. The boathouse is constructed from reinforced concrete and was cast in situ, with the retaining wall also built around the same time. Look out for otters that have been visiting the boathouse.
Highly fashionable during the 1920s, rockeries were alternative and attractive features for the garden. Many exotic trees were planted around the small pools and the mossy rocks provide a cool, damp setting for nature watching.
Built by Roger Parr in the 1950s, it was designed as a fisherman’s hut, a sheltered place to sit and enjoy the spectacular views in bad weather. The materials were locally sourced or from the estate and the hut was designed to blend in with the surroundings.
The floor is made up of river cobbles, white quartz and horses’ teeth. Look out for the teeth that were used to form a letter ‘P’ for Parr. The walls are made from rough elm timbers and the seat has been decorated with split birch to give it a truly rustic appearance.
The walled garden
The walled garden at The Weir was designed by Humphry Repton and is a short walk through the orchard, past the sheep field until you reach the red-brick wall with the wooden door.
Just outside the wall you’ll see the early Georgian cold frames, which have been fully restored, then step through the big wooden door into a secret garden.
Unlike a standard walled garden, this one has just three sides to make the most of the sunshine and to enjoy the views of the River Wye. You can buy the home-grown goods, straight from the garden.
The crown of the restored walled garden is the 1920s glasshouse. Built in the 19th century by the same company that built Queen Victoria’s glasshouses, Foster & Pearson, it sadly fell into disrepair for over 50 years.
Thanks to our supporters, it was sympathetically restored, but now requires further conservation work so is closed for the time being. Work will continue until late autumn; why not take a look and see the work in action on your next visit? Records show the glasshouse was used all year round to grow mushrooms, asparagus and rhubarb, being forced over winter and the gardeners still plant in the same format today.
Otters in the garden
Resident otters have chosen their spot at The Weir. Tiny footprints have been spotted along the riverbank and inside the boathouse. Shy creatures, they have only been spotted once or twice, but the footprints keep appearing, showing they’re still active.
Discover how we manage the garden to provide a sustainable habitat for the wildlife and birds that call this place home.
The Weir Garden has a rich and varied history, from Roman settlement to family garden. Discover the stories of times past and learn about the garden’s history.
Neglected for 50 years, the walled garden was brought back to life. Find out about its restoration project.
Help maintain the natural beauty of The Weir Garden on the banks of the River Wye by joining the volunteer team.
From 18th-century water gardens and Arts and Crafts landscapes to intimate woodland gardens, there are so many places to discover.
Discover our gardeners’ top tips so you can make the most of your garden, plot or window box.