In celebration of Visit England’s new campaign - The Year of the English Garden, we thought we’d make a start by telling you a little bit more about the walled gardens here at Raby Castle.
The 18th century walled gardens at Raby Castle are set within a 200 acre deer park in the heart of Teesdale. Designers such as Thomas Wright of Durham and James Paine worked to establish the gardens which now extend to five acres, with formal lawns, rose gardens and ornamental pond framing picturesque views of the Castle and the valley beyond.
The Gardens have been considerably altered during the last century but many of the original features remain. In particular the two fine 200 year old yew hedges and the ornamental pond dominate the central garden. These magnificent gardens display herbaceous borders, shrub borders, a conservatory, formal rose gardens and informal conifer gardens.
The walls, of locally hand-made bricks were constructed with flues which, when heated enabled sub-tropical fruits such as apricots to be grown on the South Terrace. Of these only the White Ischia fig brought to Raby in 1786 by William Harry, 3rd Earl of Darlington, still survives in its specially built house fruiting bi-annually.
New features have now matured and blend happily with the remaining parts of the older garden to create a pleasure garden for visitors to enjoy and where many events take place in the Summer.
A visit to the Raby Castle Gardens could not be complete without stopping at the tearooms, housed in the Old Stables, for homemade scones, drinks and light lunches, and a browse in the Gift Shop.
In which other Garden could you also view transport from the past? A collection of Horse Drawn carriages are on display to the public in the Coach Houses.
Raby Castle and the Gardens are open to enjoy throughout the summer months.
Interesting garden facts:
- Raby Castle has a variety of Red Currant (rubrus rubrum) named after it. It was first developed and planted in the Raby Gardens in the mid-19th century, and continues to flourish.
- The cuttings from the large yew hedges which dominate the central part of the garden are collected and used in the manufacture of chemotherapy treatments for cancer.
- It takes two men one month to clip the yew hedges
- It is believed that there has been a garden on the same site since 1750.
- Exotic fruits such as melons and pineapples could be grown in the hot houses that once existed along the walls of the garden.