Marks Hall was purchased in 1898 by Thomas Phillips Price. He spent a lot of time in Italy and brought back seeds to plant at Marks Hall. When he died in 1932 he left his estate to the nation. Marks Hall was demolished in 1950 as it had become derelict.
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The garden’s main features are landscaped woodland walks with views across the two lakes to a 17th century walled garden. Both traditional and contemporary landscaping are on view.
The collection of shrubs and trees is planted according to the region of the world where they originated. Areas represent, Japan, China, Asia, Europe, North and South America, and the southern hemisphere. Of special note is the honywood oak, thought to be over 700 years old. Two hundred eucalyptus trees perfume the air in warm weather.
Spring flowers, including snowdrops, daffodils, cowslips, and wild flowers, are found here. In Robin’s grove are three kinds of snowdrops.
The lakes contain roach, golden orfe, and goldfish. Beside the lower lake is an original nuttery.
The Long Avenue ( ¾ of a mile) was the main entrance to the estate and mansion. Along the walk are oak trees, dating from 200 years ago. The Birkett Long Millenium walk, in the Asian section of the arboretum, is planted with dogwood, sarcococca, wintersweet, and rubus.
The walled garden is really five different ones. The first has an earth sculpture meant to represent new beginnings. The second, connected to it by a pittosporum hedge, houses purple fennel and Achillea ‘Moonshine’ fronds.
In the third garden are clipped box hedge, ‘Robin Hill’, lavender grooso, and deep black iris. In the fourth garden is a stone wall and plants of gold, yellow, orange, and red. In the fith is a block of hornbeam and a deep slate pool.
Located just north of Coggeshall, Essex
Tel. 01376 563796
Open: varies greatly depending on month of the year; check website for full details.
Tea-room; shop; plant centre, picnic area
Web: Marks Hall
Insider Tip: Wear you wellies or walking boots if there has been recent rain as much of the walking is through grass which will be damp and/or muddy.
Photos by Barbara Ballard