Exterior view of the East front of Brodsworth Hall
The east front of Brodsworth Hall

Sleeping Beauty

The gardens at Brodsworth Hall near Doncaster have been something of a sleeping beauty for the majority of the 20th century. We took over this mid-Victorian house and garden in 1990 by which time it had slid inexorably into decline.

The original structure proved to be an ingenious use of space which worked with the landscape to make the garden feel much bigger than it is, so today visitors can walk through tunnels, over bridges and on the inter-connecting paths experiencing a series of visual surprises at every turn.

Discover the seasonal garden highlights at Brodsworth.

The Flower Garden at Brodsworth Hall
The Flower Garden with fountain, monkey puzzle trees and summer bedding

Historical Accounts

Historical research of the garden was helped by a considerable archive of accounts which not only give examples of individual costs - £3 16s for guano (manure) in June 1870 for example – but also show how the money spent on the garden rocketed from £169 18s in 1861 to £782 15s 2d two years later demonstrating the speed with which the garden was built. It is now regarded as one of the most remarkable Victorian gardens in the country, having gone from complete abandonment to Victorian showpiece in just a few years.

© John Critchley

Benefits of Neglect

The years of neglect of Brodsworth Hall have had unexpected advantages. As the foliage became more dense it protected the bones of the mid-Victorian design beneath, leaving it largely intact allowing careful restoration of the gardens. But also the lack of mowing means that a rich bank of wildflowers, such as cowslips, orchids and wild thyme have been allowed to establish in the lawns, something not originally in the Victorian design but deeply appreciated by modern visitors. Find out more about the gardens.

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