Wentworth Castle

  • wentworthcastlegardens

Garden Category: North East England

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  • One of the most important historic gardens in the North of England, this hidden gem from the 18th century opened fully for the first time on a daily basis in May 2007, 10am-5pm. Wentworth Castle, a grade I listed building, is the home of Northern College for Residential Adult Education. The gardens and 500 acre landscape surrounding it are, historically, among the most important in the country, having been designated grade I on English Heritages’s Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. They contain rare surviving features, such as the serpentine watercourse and formal wilderness garden, as well as the structures amongst the first of their kind to have been constructed in a garden, such as the mock castle. The Gardens were laid out in the 18th century by Sir Thomas Wentworth (1672-1739), 1st Earl of Strafford (second creation) and his son William, 2nd Earl (1722-1791), initially as a result of a bitter feud with another branch of the Wentworth Family. Thomas was suceeded by his son William in 1739, by which time the fashion was moving towards laying out gardens in a more natural style. During the 19th century many exotic trees and shrubs, especially hardy hybrid rhododendrons, were planted and a conservatory and rockery built. In the mid 20th century the gardens fell into neglect until clearance work in the 1970s and part restoration of Stainborough Castle in the 1980s and the establishment of the first of the three National Plant Collections in the Gardens. As there are important contributions from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, the restoration philosophy is to restore the best remaining elements from each period. The gardens care for 3 National Plant Collections, comprising of species rhododendrons, species magnolias and williamsii hybrid camellias, and also contain an important collection of hardy hybrid rhododendrons, which produce spectacular colour in late May and early June.

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