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Gardening by the railway

PUBLISHED: 09:00 24 May 2014

Coming up roses at Minehead station

Coming up roses at Minehead station

Zummerzet Photography

Garden owners living alongside the West Somerset Railway will be throwing open their gates to visitors in aid of good causes this summer

Words by Sarah Ford

Brook HouseBrook House

If you visit one of the pretty gardens alongside the tracks of a heritage steam railway on a hot summer’s afternoon and hear the whistle blowing or maybe catch the occasional sight of a train through the trees, you would be forgiven for thinking you had time travelled into another century.

This summer, a selection of delightful plots neighbouring the West Somerset Railway line will be open to visitors, including 15 gardens in the village of Stogumber on 14 and 15 June.

Gardeners here have been joining together since the 1980s, explains John Leech of Knoll Cottage.

“Some 33 years ago St Mary’s Church was in desperate need of money for building repairs. A group of gardeners in the village decided to open to help raise funds. This was very successful and has continued every year since. There will be about 15 gardens open in aid of the church and also St Margaret’s Somerset Hospice and the Children’s Hospice South West.”

Lydeard HouseLydeard House

Six gardens in Stogumber will also be open on 22 June for the National Gardens Scheme. Other gardens opening along the WSR line for the NGS include Aller Farmhouse on 18 May, where the sound of the trains is a charming feature.

Its owner, Richard Chandler, will also open in aid of the British Red Cross on 11 May.

“The most unusual feature of our garden is a three sided quarry; we call it the cliff garden,” he says.

“The garden is extremely hot and good for tender plants.”

The following garden owners are helping to raise money for charities supported by the National Gardens Scheme. Nationally nearly £23 million has been donated within the past 10 years.

Aller Farmhouse

Williton, TA4 4LY

18 May, 2pm-5.30pm

A sunny south facing garden sub-divided into five compartments. Features include old magnolias, figs and Judas tree.

Hove To, Lady Furlong, Melbreak

Bicknoller TA4 4EG/TA4 4EL

29 June, 2pm-5.30pm

Three very different gardens - see a water feature, magnificent views, artist’s studio and unusual perennials.

Binham Grange

Old Cleeve, TA24 6HX

3 August 1pm-5.30pm

Italian-style garden, pergola and plants for the senses.

Crowcombe Court

Crowcombe, TA4 4AD

15 June & 3 August, 2pm-6pm

The 10 acres of gardens (woodland garden, lake, walled garden) are being rejuvenated.

Hartwood House

Crowcombe Heathfield, TA4 4BS

25 May, 2pm-5.30; 26 June, 4pm-7.30pm; 27 July, 2pm-5.30pm.

A two-acre garden surrounded by magnificent oak and beech trees.

Lydeard House

Bishops Lydeard, TA4 3AU

22 June, 2pm-5.30pm

Enjoy sweeping lawns, lake and a temple folly.

Orchard Wyndham

Near Williton, TA4 4HH

1 June, 2pm-5pm

Discover interesting old trees, rose walk, two small lakes and wild garden.

Braglands Barn, Brook House, Cridlands Steep, Higher Kingswood, Knoll Cottage, Pound House

Stogumer, TA4 3TQ

22 June, 2pm-6pm

Six delightful gardens where features include a walled garden, ponds, a collection of over 80 different roses and a cider-apple orchard.


Crowcombe, TA4 4AL

7 & 8 June, 1pm-5pm

Plenty of places to sit and enjoy the surroundings and views of the Quantock and Brendon Hills.

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