Westonbury MillLeominster
Water Garden
Herefordshire HR6 9HZ
For most gardeners a wet or boggy patch in a garden is an undesirable thing . For Richard Pim it was a golden opportunity to creat a unique garden full of the sounds of running water.
Richard is a former hydrologist who has used his knowledge of moving water for crop irrigation to build some amazing water driven follies surrounded by relaxing gardens.
Surrounded by fruit orchards and rolling Herefordshire countryside, this unique garden is unusual, quirky and the result of over 14 years’ work by a gentle, eccentric man. Sometimes visitors can be lucky enough to come across Richard working in his garden where he is always ready to pause for a chat.
The garden is open to visitors 7 days a week from 1st April – 30th September. 11:00 – 17:00 hours.
Don’t expect manicured beds of formal plantings and parkland, this is a reasonably small wild garden with a running stream, pools, a man-made islanded lake, bog gardens and borders full of colourful moisture loving plants. Curved wooden bridges and boardwalks carry a multitude of narrow paths across the water features and past the extraordinary follies. The visitor never knows what will be revealed around the next corner.
Children particularly love exploring the leafy tunnel created by the ‘elephants ears’ Gunnera Manicata (Giant Rhubarb), or repelling imaginary foes on the Spiral Mound. The excavated spoil from a water feature deposited at the end of the garden has been imaginatively turned in to this viewpoint overlooking the whole garden.
The Follies
To quote owner Richard Pim
“In about 2000 I rediscovered a small iron water wheel which I had removed from the mill pit many years ago, and the urge to use it started a spate of folly building which has been going on ever since. There are now three follies, all very large, very different and completely useless, but they amuse me and will, I hope, make you smile too.”
Exploring the Garden
The first thing that greets the visitor is a stone tower/dovecot next to a small stream. An ingenious series of buckets powered by an over-shot waterwheel lifts water up into a tank at the top of the tower. At a pre-determined level the tank discharges the water through gargoyles on one side of the tower, back into the stream and on to the overshot wheel.
Visitors then enter a series of small gardens starting with the bog garden. The gardens can be visited in any order and there is ample seating throughout for relaxing and enjoying the peace and quiet. The colourful, scented flowers attract myriads of butterflies, bees and birds.
As well as the stone tower there are other follies situated in the gardens including an extraordinary stone igloo over a pond, studded with 5,000 coloured wine bottles. It is like a bejewelled grotto.
The Cuckoo Clock
The highlight of the follies is the giant water-powered cuckoo clock which doubles as a viewing platform. The clock is housed in a two-storey half-timbered tower and comes to life about 10 minutes before the hour until about 5 minutes afterwards. It has to be seen and heard to be believed.
Richard Pim describes the giant cuckoo clock thus:
“My most recent folly started as a splendid oak tower built for me by a local half-timbering specialist. It stands among conifers and has stairs to a viewing platform which overlooks the garden.
The tower has a watery theme, of course, with a broad shaft up the centre displaying the mechanism of the water-powered clock and singing bird. The bird song mechanism was made for me by the organ builder who did the restoration of the singing birds at the Villa d'Este garden outside Rome.
I've been doing a bit of research on the internet and found lots of giant cuckoo clocks, mainly in Bavaria. But I think I can claim mine as the world's largest water powered cuckoo clock. It's fun anyway; the other garden birds seem to love it and I think you will too.”
Other features add interest to the garden. The Summer House has an African ethnic look but is actually all Herefordshire, made from elm re-growth cut a few yards away and reed mace from the pond.
Disabled Access
About 80% of the garden is accessible to wheelchairs and the rest is easily visible. There is a toilet for the disabled.
Plentiful parking, toilets, plant sales and a cafe. You can go to the cafe without paying to go into the garden.
Watermill Cafe
The licensed cafe serves coffee, lunches, cream teas, cakes, ice creams, wines and local ciders and beers. All food is sourced locally and prepared on site. Tables may be reserved.  Tel: 01544 388729 (available only during open hours).
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Web:     Westonbury Water Mill Cafe    External Link
Contact & Further Information
Telephone    01544388650  (Garden)  
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Website    Westonbury Mill Gardens        External Link
Getting There
Westonbury Mill Garden and Cafe are just off the A44 between Leominster and Kington, 20 minutes west of Leominster and 25 minutes north of Hereford.
- By Road
From Pembridge head towards Kington for 1.5 miles (2.4 km). The gardens are signposted in both directions on the A44 by brown tourist signs.
Google Maps - Westonbury Mill Water Gardens