September 6, 2022 6.00 am This story is over 21 months old

Plans to restore spectacular 19th century Harlaxton Manor garden

The garden would be ready in 2025

One of Lincolnshire’s most spectacular hidden gems will be restored to productive use and opened to the public by 2025, if plans go ahead.

Harlaxton Manor, near Grantham, with its impressive 19th century Walled Garden, among the largest in Britain at four acres, has long been closed to the public.

Now plans have been put forward by the Manor and its custodian, Harlaxton College, to regenerate the gardens and the historic buildings within it to create an amazing new learning environment, visitor attraction and community venue ‘with sustainability at its heart’.

The revitalisation would see the gardens reinvigorated, with a new sensory garden, medicinal garden and orchard, as well as a Shakespeare-inspired garden and an avenue of blossoming trees, with work starting in 2023.

Other areas will grow fruit and vegetables for consumption by the students of Harlaxton College and visitors.

The plan for the Walled Garden site. | Photo: Harlaxton Manor

Colourful ornamental plants will be incorporated into the design to attract pollinators and add to the sense of wonder the garden will evoke.

The historic walls, gates and railings will also be restored along with existing buildings which include the Gardener’s Cottage, outbuildings and glasshouses.

This structural regeneration will create spaces for education and visitor engagement as well as a shop and restaurant/café that looks out onto the gardens.

A new Innovation Hub will be built on the footprint of a collection of former greenhouses in an area that’s to be named Gregory Court.

The Court named after Gregory Gregory who oversaw construction of Harlaxton Manor and the Walled Garden, was once used as a proving ground for growing plants from seed, achieving new hybrids with desirable qualities.

Impression of how the Walled Garden with Gardener’s House will look when the work is complete. | Photo: Harlaxton Manor

Project Director of the Walled Garden at Harlaxton Manor, Ian Welsh said: “We’re hugely excited by the amazing plans that we and our partners have been working on for the astonishing Walled Garden of Harlaxton Manor.

“Throughout its long history, the manor and its grounds have had several owners and while the amazing walls are in good condition, the gardens themselves have fallen into disuse, so this four acre site has not been open to the public.

“As part of the 50th anniversary of Harlaxton College, we’ve been looking ahead to the future, working on new ways to allow more people to discover the incredible manor and its grounds – and the regeneration of the Walled Garden is something we’ve dreamed of for many years.

“We have always believed that our education and heritage missions are complementary and mutually supportive.

“By giving the walled garden and buildings the love, care and craftsmanship they need, we can bring the garden to a wider audience while reimagining our academic programs and enhancing the student experience.

An impression of how Gregory Court will appear. | Photo: Harlaxton Manor

“It would provide opportunities for enhanced community engagement and participation, increase biodiversity and reduce our environmental impact.

“We’re many years away from seeing this project through to completion, and it’s a huge undertaking, but we’re energised and inspired by the amazing potential of this garden and we can’t wait to see it in full bloom.”

A Grade II listed site, the Walled Garden, built in the 19th century, was described in 1875 as being “unlike any others to be found in Britain” by the Journal of Horticulture and Cottage Gardener, which also said the garden walls are “extraordinary examples of masonry.”

To attest to this praise, the garden has several innovatory facets including polygonal walls, heated walls and compartments to capture the sun.

Greenhouses were also heated, with areas designed to create microclimates suitable for growing exotic fruits such as vines, pineapples, peaches and apricots.

The avenue of blossom in the planned restoration of the Walled Garden. | Photo: Harlaxton Manor

Gregory Court as it will appear in an artist’s depiction. | Photo: Harlaxton Manor

An overview impression of how the Garden will appear. | Photo: Harlaxton Manor

Another impression of the Garden with the Gardener’s House. | Photo: Harlaxton Manor

Artist’s sketch showing how spectacular the Garden will appear in a few years. | Photo: Harlaxton Manor