The Garden House
Devon PL20 7LQ
When speaking about this special garden, British TV garden presenter Alan Titmarsh said “You'd be mad to miss it” and he is right.
Situated just outside Buckland Monachorum on West Dartmoor, this pretty garden is inextricably linked with the fortunes of Buckland Abbey and the building of the Church of St Andrew, Buckland.
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In 1305 this site was chosen by the Abbot for a house for the local parish priest. When Buckland monastery was dissolved, the Abbot himself came to live in the house. The Garden House was the home of all subsequent vicars until the 1920s.
By the early 1700s, the vicarage consisted of a substantial 3-storey dwelling. The remains of this building, a tower with a spiral staircase and a thatched barn, formerly the kitchen, are now the romantic ruins located in the Walled Garden.
In the 19th century a new rectory was built and this now accommodates the tea rooms and other facilities.
Just after the Second World War the property was bought by a retired Eton school master and his wife, Lionel and Katherine Fotescue. They ran it as a market garden and a small dairy farm, while they set about transforming the property into this beautiful colourful garden we see today.
Entrancing 'Old Fashioned' Garden
The visitor is entranced by this ‘old fashioned’ garden. We see plants like delphiniums, foxgloves, poppies and many of the wild flowers we used to see in the hedgerows and meadows before the era of mechanical hedge loppers and weedkillers.
The garden appears to be a haphazard collection of smaller gardens seamlessly leading off each other. A profusion of flowering plants rises out of seemingly unmown grass, crowding narrow paths and covering the hillside. The naturalistic plantings and trees part to reveal views of the valley below. Throughout the Long Walk are many places with secluded seating where you can simply sit and savor the tranquil surroundings.
Carpets of Colour
This is in fact a masterpiece of planning. No matter what time of year a visitor comes they are treated to carpets of colour. It starts in February with drifts of snowdrops, followed by cyclamen, narcissus, dwarf daffodils, crocus and numerous other bulbs.
There are many rarities in this garden and the South African Garden is a riot of unfamiliar plants. The Acer Glade is full of Japanese maples which glow with reds and oranges in autumn. Other designs include the Cottage, the Wild Flower Meadow, the Quarry with its alpine plants, and the Lime Tree Walk.
Around the medieval walled garden are patches of manicured lawn and more formal garden beds and terraces. You can climb the stone spiral staircase of the ruined tower and look down on the Tennis Court lawn. The Bowling Green was used for playing bowls and the Trust likes to think that perhaps Sir Francis Drake might have practised on it while visiting his sister who was married to one of the rectors.
Words cannot do justice to this exceptional garden. Web: The Garden House Photo Gallery
Plan Your Visit
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Opening Times and Admission prices
Go to the Garden House website below for current opening times and costs.
Guided Tours & Talks
There are guided tours which range from a brief introduction to a walk led by the Head Gardener. Please refer to the Garden House website for details.
There is limited access to some parts of the garden due to the hilly nature of the site. There is level access to the tearoom and disabled toilet.
The tearooms are situated in the 18th century vicarage, and afford wonderful views onto a wisteria-clad terrace and onwards to the lawns and borders.
Real Devonshire cream teas with clotted cream, homemade cakes, hot and cold meals, hearty soups are available. Lunches are served from 12:00 - 15:00 hours. Tea menu is available all day.
Contact & Further Information
+44 (0)1822 854 769
- By Car
The Garden House lies between the villages of Crapstone and Buckland Monachorum, 1.6 miles (2.5 km) west of Yelverton, 5 miles (8 km) from Tavistock and 10 miles (16 km) from Plymouth.
The Garden House is clearly signed off the main A386 Plymouth to Tavistock road. Car parking is available at the entrance to the garden.
Google Map - The Garden House