Inspirational gardens of West Dartmoor
Are you a keen gardener or plant lover? If so, you’ll find some of Britain’s most inspiring gardens in this corner of Dartmoor.
Just two miles from Yelverton in Buckland Monachorum is The Garden House, ‘one of the most exciting and innovative gardens in Britain today’. The garden is at the forefront of naturalistic planting and features over 6,000 varieties of plants thriving much as they would in nature. Open all year, its 10 acres are spectacular in all seasons, from the February snowdrop festival through to the stunning autumn colours of its Japanese maples. With a popular cafe and plant centre on site, you’ll need a full day to enjoy this pioneering garden.
Many of our guests also take in the glories of Wildside, also in Buckland Monachorum. Originally a flat field, Wildside is only eight years old and has been created by The Garden House’s former head gardener, who’s moved 110,000 tonnes of soil to sculpt naturalistic landscapes. A fascinating work in progress, Wildside’s planting is inspired by natural habitats from around the world. The garden is open on set days between April and August to coincide with the main seasonal flowering peaks – see their website for details – and is a must for plant lovers.
If heritage buildings and their grounds are your thing, then you won’t be disappointed. In Buckland Monachorum – again! – there’s Buckland Abbey, former Cistercian abbey and home of Sir Francis Drake. The seasonal plantings of its kitchen garden, wild garden and cider garden ensure year-round interest and there are lovely walks through the estate’s ancient woodland, which is carpeted in bluebells in spring.
A 30-minute drive west from Yelverton is the magnificent Tudor Cotehele House and Quay, with its Grade II* listed 14 acres of gardens and 12 acres of orchards. The formal terraces, wild valley garden and orchards are a mass of colour in all seasons and steeped in history, featuring a medieval dovecote and stewpond. A restaurant, cafe and well stocked shop will allow you to spend a day here with ease.
Some Harrabeer guests devote their whole stay to garden spotting. But even if you take in just one of these uplifting places, you’ll be glad you did.