Nestled within the picturesque village of Abbey Dore in Herefordshire, England lies a hidden gem – the magnificent Abbey Dore Court Gardens. With eight acres of stunning landscaped gardens to explore, this historic attraction offers both an oasis of tranquility and an unforgettable experience for visitors.
History of Abbey Dore Court
Abbey Dore Court is a country house that dates back to the 1860s, when it was built as a rectory for The Reverend Alleyne FitzHerbert. In 1909, the property was sold and subsequently transformed into a gracious family home. However, the rich history of the area extends far beyond the construction of Abbey Dore Court itself. On the same grounds lies the impressive remains of Dore Abbey – a historical church that once belonged to the Cistercian order. Established in 1147, Dore Abbey flourished until its dissolution ordered by Henry VIII in 1536.
Transforming the Gardens
The transformation of the Abbey Dore Court Gardens began in 1985 under the expert guidance of gardener and horticulturist Charlie Highfield-Locke. Over several years, Charlie painstakingly crafted a variety of unique garden features which still captivate visitors today.
In 1993, current owners Jan and Stephen Griffiths purchased Abbey Dore Court and continued to refine and expand their thriving horticultural project. The Griffiths made significant improvements to both the property and gardens while ensuring that they remained true to Charlie’s original vision.
Features and Highlights
Abbey Dore Court Gardens are brimming with diverse plant life, scenic pathways, gentle streams, and meticulously maintained flower borders. Some of the must-see features include:
– The Rose Garden: This secluded garden bursts into life with numerous varieties of roses during June and July–a sensory delight for both sight and smell.
– The Water Garden: Meandering through lush foliage, calming waterways create an enchanting atmosphere in this tranquil section.
– The Bog Garden: A natural spring feeds this damp area with its fascinating array of plants specifically suited for these unique growing conditions.
– The Herbaceous Borders: Colourful perennials add dimension as well as seasonal interest throughout various sections of these wide borders.
– Formal Gardens: These beautifully arranged beds are partially enclosed by yew hedges, providing intimacy amongst stunning floral displays.
Events at Abbey Dore Court Gardens
In addition to attracting gardening enthusiasts from all over the world, Abbey Dore Court Gardens also hosts special events throughout the year. One such occasion is their annual charity event “Gardens in the Wild”, which showcases local gardens as a fundraising event for selected causes. Additionally, they have hosted outdoor theatre performances set against their beautiful landscape.
Visiting Abbey Dore Court Gardens
Abbey Dore Court Gardens are open to visitors from April through September each year. You can wander through this idyllic sanctuary yourself or opt for a guided tour with prior appointment. There’s ample parking available on-site as well as access for disabled visitors. Beyond exploring eight acres worth of awe-inspiring nature – you can also shop for specialty plants or enjoy a picnic on designated areas within this paradise-like escape.