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Mapperton Garden, Dorset

See also Mapperton House

Mapperton House by Barbara Ballard Mapperton topiary by Barbara Ballard Mapperton Garden is a registered Grade II garden setting off a 16th-17th century golden Ham Hill stone manor house. It lies in a valley in the county of Dorset with far reaching by countryside views. The gardens date from different periods in history. It was first laid out in the 17th century, then changed in the 1920s, the 1950-60s, and finally the 21st century.

Mapperton croquet lawn and summer house by Barbara Ballard Mapperton Judas tree by Barbara Ballard Little of the earliest garden has survived to the present day. From the lawn at the side and back of the house a terrace slopes downward, and this is thought to date from the early garden. It is thought that this lawn once was a formal parterre garden. The flower gardens were smaller in the 1800s than at the present time. A kitchen garden supplied fresh vegetables and fruit to the house.

Mapperton view of long pond by Barbara Ballard Mapperton a hidden corner by Barbara Ballard Major changes took place in the 1920s. The Italianate garden dates from this time. It was laid out by Ethel Labouchere in her husband's memory. It includes ornamental stone animals and birds, grottoes, and a fountain court with four fountains. The fountain court at the bottom of the bank once had a formal parterre, then was turned into a flower garden. It now includes topiary, ham stone walls, and small flower beds with lavender and other plantings.

Mapperton walled garden by Barbara Ballard Mapperton garden view by Barbara Ballard By the 1950s the gardens were decayed and needed a huge overhaul. Victor Montagu, the former MP for South Dorset, bought the property and remade them. He added an orangery, removing greenhouses in the process, then added an arboretum below a second pool, and a spring garden with bulbs and trees. The arboretum, added by Montagu, is home to magnolias, a tulip tree, pocket handkerchief tree, guelder roses and more.

Mapperton Weigela Eva Rothe by Barbara Ballard Mapperton flowers by Barbara Ballard In the 1990s more perennials were added and an extension to the spring garden was added as well as hardwoods to the arboretum. Borders mark out the red wall where old roses, clematis, tree paeony, hellebores, salvias, and other perennials add colour.

Mapperton flowers by Barbara Ballard The croquet lawn and summer house are surrounded by a wall and plantings. Cotoneater, magnolia, golden hop, viburnums, and begonias are a few of the plantings here. The lawn is a favourite place for weddings.

Mapperton roses by Barbara Ballard Lemon tree by Barbara Ballard Visitors will delight in the secret pathways and hidden resting spots. A round pool and fountain are features of one secret garden set off by hydrangeas, ferns, lilies of the valley and hellebores. Further along in the areas known as Daniell’s garden are Scots pine, weeping beeches, cherries, camellias, rhododendrons, Japanese maples and much more. There are countryside and woodland walks.

Pool in the garden by Barbara Ballard Pevsner wrote of Mapperton that 'there can hardly be anywhere a more enchanting manorial group than Mapperton.” The garden was used for the TV show Emma and also Tom Jones.

Visitor Information

Located on minor road off B3163 or A3066 near Bridport, Dorset
Tel. 01308 862645
Open: Gardens: March-end October, Sun-Thu, 11am-5pm; House: April-end Oct, Sun-Thu, noon-4pm;
Sawmill café; small shop
Web: Mapperton Garden
Mapperton is a member of the Historic Houses Association

Insider Tip: The Sawmill café serves excellent fresh and local produce in a pleasant atmosphere. Plan on lunch or afternoon tea. Plants are available for purchase.

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