Category Archives: Gardens


With free admission for everyone, Friday 4 November is the day to head to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Garden Rosemoor in Great Torrington, Devon to enjoy all that the garden has to offer.

As part of the Society’s charitable purpose, they occasionally offer free garden admission so that everyone can enjoy a beautiful garden near to them.

On Friday 4 November, all visitors will be able to explore the garden in its autumn glory for free, giving the chance to discover the benefits of membership and find out how they can get involved through volunteering. They will be also able to experience the award-winning restaurant and browse the fully stocked plant centre and gift shop.

With membership comes free access not only to Rosemoor 364 days a year, including more than 80 garden events such as craft and antiques fairs, exhibitions and family craft workshops, but also discounts and advance bookings on RHS Flower Shows, courses, and access to a wealth of expert gardening advice. Membership also helps the RHS share the best in gardening. RHS members enjoy free access to the three other RHS Gardens, too, as well as discounted or free admission to more than 200 RHS Partner Gardens around the country and overseas.

Free garden admission applies to Friday 4 November only. Book your tickets online and find out more at Garden open 10am-5pm.


Hestercombe, near Taunton, is delighted to have been named as a winner in the European Garden Award.

Under the category Best Development of a Historic Park or Garden, Hestercombe won the title, beating the other finalists Schlosspark Ludwiglust (Germany) and the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh.

Last year’s winner was the Herrenhäuser Gärten in Hannover, Germany.

Collecting the award in Germany, Oliver White of Hestercombe, said: “It’s such an honour to be accepting this award on behalf of everyone who works so hard to keep the house, gardens and gallery at Hestercombe thriving and growing year after year. We celebrate 25 since Hestercombe was rediscovered next month, so it’s timely to be winning this accolade now, and we are humbled to have been picked over such strong competition.”

The aim of the European Garden Heritage Network (EGHN) is to support the preservation, enhancement and creation of high quality parks and gardens in Europe, their wider use and sustainability in the context of policies to foster urban, regional, cultural and landscape development.

Christian Gruesson, who managed the awards, said: “The increase of public awareness for the cultural, economic, environmental and social values and resources of parks and gardens is also a key objective of the European Garden Award. We hope that the award combined with a further gain of publicity and image will support the finalists and winners in the future development of their concepts.”


Even if you only have a small garden or courtyard, growing some vegetables, herbs or fruit to eat is really very easy. Just a few pots on the patio can be incredibly productive and popping outside and picking your own is so satisfying.

Although many vegetables are pretty easy to grow, getting started can be a little daunting if you have never grown any before. If you need a little help, or have had a go and were not happy with the results, then pop along to this year’s Grow Your Own Veg Day at Eggesford Gardens.

The free event takes place on from 11am to 4pm on Sunday 21 February. Advice on selecting the best crops for your garden and your taste buds, along with top growing tips, will be available from the centre’s experts. Joining the Eggesford team on the day will be Alison Bockh who teaches courses on gardening and veg growing and is also an accomplished garden designer.

“We think that it really important to encourage children to grow veg from an early age, so we are giving away a free pack of veg seeds to all children under 12 years old who come along on the day,” says Derrick Dyer, owner of Eggesford Garden Centre. “Not only is it a fun family activity but it helps develop understanding of where our food comes from.”

If you want to grow some vegetables this year but need a little advice or fancy trying to grow some different, then visit Eggesford Gardens Grow Your Own Day.




















Clanville Secret Garden, Minehead

Minehead Development Trust is a voluntary organisation representing Minehead’s local businesses, residents and local council. The Trust has begun work turning an abandoned garden in the centre of Minehead into a community garden and has won a Sustainable Watermark Award of £500 to install a rainwater harvesting system.

Clanville Secret Garden is tucked away in what was once part of the Clanville Grange Estate. Formerly a horticultural facility supplying Blenheim Gardens, it is located right in the heart of Minehead. Sandwiched between Holloway Street, Market House Lane and the Clanville development, it has rightly been labelled a ‘secret garden’ as it is almost invisible from surrounding roads and properties. Unsuitable to convert into a modern nursery, allotments or a housing development, West Somerset Council have offered it to the community if a viable use can be identified.
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“Minehead Development have certainly found a use for this neglected site,” said Cllr Mandy Chilcott, Chair of Minehead Development Trust’s Vision Group. “This old Victorian garden, on four different levels with remnants of its palm garden and original glasshouse, could provide a wonderful garden for local residents. Planning and fundraising are running in parallel and Dunster National Trust Gardens, Transition Minehead and Alcombe are all giving us horticultural help and advice.

“Enthusiasm from the local community for the garden’s restoration is a hundred percent and because much of the work will be done by volunteers it is important to have some basic facilities on site for them. We are delighted to say that our Sustainable Watermark has made it possible to install a rainwater harvesting system to get the old toilet up and running again.”
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The Watermark Award provides funds for environmental projects within the Wessex Water area. Now in its twenty first year, it has supported over 900 environmental initiatives. Organised by The Conservation Foundation, all projects are judged by a panel chaired by its President – David Bellamy.

PHOTO: Phil Strange from Wessex Water presenting the a cheque to Cllr Maureen Smith and volunteers of Minehead Development Trust.

Green Flag Flies Over Bicclescombe Park

Bicclescombe Park in Ilfracombe is now proudly flying a new Green Flag – for the 11th year in a row.

The park, which is owned and managed by North Devon Council, has been given the Green Flag by Keep Britain Tidy. This is an award the charity hands out in recognition of the best parks and green spaces across the country.

The flag-raising ceremony took place this week (Wednesday 20 August), with the flag being raised by John Christophers, who is the eldest member of Ilfracombe’s model boat club.

John says: “To be chosen to raise the Green Flag is an honour. I come twice a week to this park and when you live on your own, this place and the club are great. It provides a good social life and we certainly have a laugh!”

Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Derrick Spear, says: “I have fond childhood memories of this park, from when I used to play here as a boy. So, being involved in the flag-raising ceremony was a pleasure. This award confirms that the Parks team and all the volunteers involved in the upkeep of Bicclescombe Park are truly great.”

Local ward member, Councillor Geoff Fowler, says: “Well done to everyone who has been involved in the conservation of Bicclescombe Park. This award is a credit to you and all the effort you put in.”

Local ward member, Councillor Philip Webb, adds: “The award also confirms to other park users what we already know – and that is that Bicclescombe Park is among the best in the country!”

Bicclescombe Park is one of two North Devon parks that have been awarded the Green Flag for 2014. The other open space that has been given the award is Yeo Valley Community Woodland, which raised its flag earlier this month.

PHOTO: Users of Bicclescombe Park gather for the Green Flag raising nike air max 90

St James’ Park Makeover is Nearly Complete

A project to improve St James’ Park in Ilfracombe is nearing completion.

North Devon Council allocated over £9,000 to revitalise the park by clearing away overgrown shrubs, installing new signs, repositioning benches and planting new herbaceous shrubs.

The funding became available through Section 106* money from the McCarthy and Stone development of flats, which is next to St James’ Park.

Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Derrick Spear, says: “I am delighted that the renovation work at St James’ Park is nearly finished. It is so important that we sustain and retain quality in our parks as they provide a place of enjoyment for so many in the community.”

The park is a favourite spot for many as it provides spectacular views over the harbour and the beach.

Local ward member, Councillor Geoff Fowler, says: “The park improvements have enabled folk who spend time there to have better views of of the Harbour area and beyond. This also works two-way as pedestrians along Quay Road can see what a delightful green park exists in such a prominent area.”

Ilfracombe member Cllr Philip Webb, says: “The park has recently been improved enormously and it is a restful place to sit amongst the greenery and enjoy the amazing views of the harbour and coastline.”

The final installment to complete the park’s makeover will be an information board explaining the park’s history and some of the town’s landmarks which form the view.

*Section 106 money is part of the planning conditions of large planning applications. The money can only be used for education, local community and public open space projects.

PHOTO: Left to right: Cllrs Geoff Fowler, Philip Webb and Derrick Spear at St James’ Park. cheap nike air max

Grown-up Garden Thursdays

Staff and volunteers at Arlington Court would like to invite any adults enjoying their summer holidays in North Devon to their garden demonstrations each Thursday in August.

With the summer holidays in full flow and lots of holidaymakers in the area, August is traditionally the time of year set aside for families and children. However, to give those without children a respite from busy roads and packed beaches, Arlington aims to become a peaceful refuge for those attempting to escape the crowds.

Kate Christmas, Visitor Services Officer at Arlington Court, said: “Throughout the school holidays we have regular family activities – crafts on a Monday and ranger skills on a Wednesday and Friday. However, we’ve noticed that Thursday’s are our quietest days for families, so we thought we would put on something for the adults who visit instead.”

This time of year is the busiest for the outdoor teams and also when they get asked the most questions – such as how they manage to grow such an abundance of produce to what tools they use for certain tasks. They are also quizzed about the name of plants and how to avoid pest damage. The Thursday garden demonstrators will answer many of visitors’ most common queries and give the outdoor team a chance to share their top tips.

Sue Luker, a gardener at Arlington Court said: “The gardens at Arlington Court are at their best at this time of year. The herbaceous borders in the formal Victorian garden are in full bloom and the walled kitchen garden is producing more fruit, vegetables and flowers than we can keep up with.”

The demonstrations will highlight various different aspects of the gardens as well as the specific tasks the gardeners undertake. On Thursday 7 and 14 August there will be summer pruning of trained apples, a common task at this time of year. Thursday 21 August will explore wild gardening, and how native flowers, shrubs and trees are used to complement nature. Finally, on Thursday 28 August, there will be a demonstration of honey extraction by bee keeper (and Arlington Catering Manager) Mary Hews.

Mary said: “I rescued two swarms of bees earlier in the year and they have been busy collecting nectar and making honey. Now is the time to harvest the honey, using an extractor, which will be an interesting process for visitors to observe.”

All the demonstrations will be free, but normal admission prices to Arlington Court apply. National Trust members receive free entry. For more information call 01271 850296 or visit nike air max 90

Victorian Garden Party at Arlington Court

Visitors to Arlington Court on Saturday 2 August can take a step back in time to enjoy a Victorian garden party.

From 11am, living history actors, taking on the roles of Victorian servants and estate workers, will be setting up for the garden party and finishing their chores. At lunchtime, if the weather is fine, they’ll be enjoying a picnic on the lawn and at 2pm they will be providing some light entertainment for Arlington’s garden party guests.

Natalie Savage, Visitor Services Manager for Arlington Court, said: “We know the Chichester family who lived at Arlington used to host garden parties and wanted to try and reconnect with the past by recreating some of their entertainments. During the research for the event, it was fascinating to find out that Victorian garden parties were never aimed at children as it was felt they would get too excited and spoil the event. However, breaking with tradition, we’re hoping all the family will come along.”

Visitors are encouraged to bring along a hamper, or purchase a snack from the National Trust tea room, to share in a giant picnic between 12.30pm and 2pm. The Victorian servants will be sitting down to eat then too and will be able to answer questions about their life and work and how they enjoy the little leisure time they have.

Throughout the day there will be a range of traditional outdoor games to try, such as a coconut shy, hoopla and table skittles. Victorian dressing-up clothes will also be available so that families can don their finery and have their photo taken in front of the house. North Devon Falconry will be providing bird-of-prey flying demonstrations throughout the day.

Entry to Arlington Court is free for National Trust members and normal admission charges will apply for the event. Some of the activities will be weather dependant. For more information please contact Arlington Court on 01271 850296 or visit nike air max 2014

Latest Update on Ilfracombe Play Parks

Here is the latest update on Ilfracombe play parks, from North Devon Council Contracts Delivery Manager Mark Kentell:

“Following a large number of requests from the public relating to Brimlands Play area, NDC will be reinstating the play equipment at Brimlands this week. All being well, the equipment will be back on site by Friday 25 July.

“The only piece of kit that won’t be reinstated is the slide, as it was unfortunately heavily corroded and could become hazardous if left much longer.
“Ilfracombe Round Table has kindly agreed to donate proceeds from this year’s Birdman event towards the replacement of play equipment in Ilfracombe. We have also had kind offers from another local funder towards kit replacement.
“When Birdman has taken place and we know how much is in the pot, we’ll post some different options on our facebook page, so that people will have the opportunity to have an input into the type of equipment that is installed.”To find out more and share views, please go to Parks, Leisure and Sport in North Devon on facebook.

Blenheim Gardens Shipshape in Time for Summer

Minehead’s Blenheim Gardens have been given a root and branch spruce-up in time for the busy summer season.

West Somerset Council invested £5,500 into the work to bring the gardens back to their best – and the work has been completed in time for visitors and residents to enjoy throughout the summer.

The work has been welcomed by Minehead Town Council and the teams praised for their thoroughness and dedication in clearing overgrown areas. The groundwork will make it easier for Council staff and volunteers to maintain the open space in future.

Both Councils are working hard to make Minehead look its best and the partnership approach is already paying dividends.

Council Leader, Cllr Tim Taylor, said: “I am pleased we have been able to do this work and that the money could be found due to our continued careful management of budgets. I am delighted that Minehead Town Council has praised the transformation of Blenheim Gardens – among the most popular areas for visitors and residents.

“We are working hard to make Minehead thrive – it is our largest town and a popular destination for visitors. A lot has been done, and more needs to be done, but we are now making a real difference by working together.”

Blenheim Gardens cover six acres in the centre of Minehead. Created in the 1920s, the gardens are mature with spring and summer bedding displays, a wide range of trees, shrubs and perennials that thrive in the mild maritime climate.

The gardens have their own bandstand for summer concerts and brass bands – always a family favourite – as well as a seasonal putting course, a Burma Star Memorial Garden and seating.