Hodnet Hall gardens occupy a site which has served for many hundreds of years as a park and gardens. They have altered over the years as the location of houses for the Heber-Percy family and ancestors have changed. Hodnet Hall Gardens comprise over 60 acres of flowers, forest trees, lawns, and a chain of ornamental pools Set along a valley, they provide natural habitat for wildlife and waterfowl.
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The ruins of a Norman castle can be seen near the car park. A 16th century half-timbered building (no longer remaining) was set off with a beech avenue of trees, a terraced walk and a circular garden. Another house of red brick and stone was built on the property in the mid 1800s on higher ground. This Victorian house was reduced in size in 1967 and the Heber-Percy family, who have created much of the garden, live here.
In the 1920s pools and terraces on different levels were added to the formal gardens which were enclosed in a yew hedge. Some of the special areas of the gardens include the camellia garden, broad walk (along south front of the hall), the water garden, stone garden, magnolia walk, and kitchen gardens.
In the spring daffodils and rhododendrons are in bloom. Magnolias, azaleas, camellias, prunus, and more add to the attraction.
May brings wisteria, primulas, and late blooming magnolias as well as acers and flowering shrubs. Oak, sycamore, lime, and beech trees add to the mix. June sees laburnum, peonies, geraniums, delphiniums and many other species bring beauty to the garden. July is rose blooming month, and the garden has many varieties including old fashioned shrub roses. Fuchsia, bamboo, and fern are other features to see this month.
The focus in August is on the water gardens and their waterfalls. They are surrounded by white, rose and bright red astilbes. Candelabra, primulas and spireas set off the area while water lilies add colour to the pools. September brings to attention the acer, birch, berberis and cotoneaster into play to brighten the autumn displays.
Hodnet Hall Gardens was the winner of the Christies Historic Houses Association ‘Garden of the Year’ award for 1985.
Hodnet Hall Gardens
Hodnet, Market Drayton, Shropshire, on the A53 north of Shrewsbury
Tel. 0 1630 685 786
Open: April-Sep, Sun, BH Mon; also one day in May, June, July, 11am-5pm; phone or check website for full details
Tea-room in the old stables; plant sales; shop; parking
Web: Hodnet Hall Gardens
Photos and text © by Barbara Ballard