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6 glorious Lakeland gardens you should visit this spring

PUBLISHED: 20:24 25 March 2013 | UPDATED: 22:17 11 February 2018

Askham Hall Gardens

Askham Hall Gardens

There are few regions in Europe that can match the range and the quality of gardens to be found in the Lake District.

There are few regions in Europe that can match the range and the quality of gardens to be found in the Lake District.

As the weather starts to change and we begin to think about venturing into the great outdoors, Lancashire Life writers have come up with a list of six that are among our favourites.

It was a tall order – there are dozens of contenders such as Holker Hall, Dalemain and Hutton-in-the-Forest. But we thought our list provided a good starting point and gave a cross section of the many great gardens in this wonderful region. Here they are, in no particular order.

Askham Hall Gardens

Here you will find 12 acres which include 230ft double herbaceous borders, woodland, meadows, formal lawns, kitchen gardens and ponds. There are also outstanding views down to the River Lowther and you can sample the produce grown on the estate at Askham Hall’s café, pub and restaurant.

This is all part of the plan by owner Charles Lowther and his wife Junoto safeguard the future of Askham Hall, which is a Grade I listed building.

There is also a children’s play area along with rare-breed pigs and goats, free range chickens and ducks. There surrounding countryside is perfect for outdoor activities including walking, running and cycling.

Askham Hall, Askham, Penrith, CA10 2PF. Tel: 01931 712348. www.askhamhall.co.uk

Acorn Bank

A haven for wildlife. The National Trust garden forms a tranquil oasis for visitors surrounded by ancient oak trees and bounded by terracotta walls. A major feature is the herb garden which has a national reputation for its 250 medicinal and culinary herbs.

Later in the year, the orchards are packed with traditional fruit varieties. Visitors can stroll along the Crowdundle Beck to the partially-restored watermill, and take in the lovely views of the rose-pink sandstone house, which is not open to the public

Acorn Bank, Temple Sowerby, near Penrith, CA10 1SP. Tel: 017683 61893.

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/acorn-bank

Brantwood

If you love hillside gardens, the 250 acre estate at Brantwood are a must, if just for the stunning views over Coniston Water. Even the name reflects the garden - Brant is the old Norse word for steep.

It is believed that Brantwood’s steep woods were first worked by Norse invaders in the 9th century. These ancient and mainly natural woods form half of the estate, which has an exceptional diversity of flora and fauna. A hike across the estate will provide a range of terrain from high, open fells to lakeside meadows. It is a great place for walkers of all abilities, from level rambles to energetic hikes to Crag Head.

Brantwood’s core comprises eight unique, beautiful gardens which maintain the integrity of John Ruskin’s views of land management and horticulture.

Brantwood, Coniston, LA21 8AD. Tel: 015394 41396. www.brantwood.org.uk

Muncaster

Camellias, magnolias and native wild daffodils at this time of year but as April turns to May the rhododendrons and azaleas take over creating a riot of colour. The 77 acres of gardens contain plants from all over the world, especially the Himalayan region. You can also find many rare and unusual trees and plants and, pretty much regardless of the season, there is always something in flower. The rhododendron, camellia and azalea collections provide a terrific backdrop to the mature trees and parkland.

Although great at any time of year, spring is when Muncaster is at its stunning best with May being the high point of the flowering season. From the middle of April until the middle of May, Muncaster’s bluebells are sure to lift the spirits. The castle’s website tells you when they are at their best.

Muncaster Castle, Ravenglass, Cumbria, CA18 1RQ. Tel: 01229 717 614. www.muncaster.co.uk

Levens Hall

Probably one of Britain’s best known gardens with exotic topiary that makes it stand out from the crowd. Unsurprisingly, the garden is Grade I Listed and it dates from 1694. It is remarkable that the original garden design has remained immune to changing fashions and garden fads.

It is thought the topiary is some of the oldest in the world but there is more to it than amazing box hedging. There is a small orchard of apples and medlars, a nuttery and herb garden, a bowling green, a rose garden, herbaceous borders and seasonal bedding.

The house was purchased by a Colonel James Grahme in 1688 and he brought with him a young French gardener called Guillaume Beaumont, who had worked at Versailles. A fountain garden, bordered with pleached limes, celebrates their partnership.

Levens Hall, Kendal, LA8 0PD.Tel: 015395 60321. www.levenshall.co.uk

Holehird

These magnificent 17 acres of hillside gardens are the home of the Lakeland Horticultural Trust, which exists to ‘to promote the art, science and practice of horticulture, with particular reference to conditions in the Lake District.’ And they do it in splendid fashion with a terrific variety of planting - specimen trees and shrubs, extensive rock and heather gardens, a walled garden, alpine houses and herbaceous borders.

What is most remarkable is the fact Holehird is maintained entirely by members on a voluntary basis. It means the character and emphasis of the garden is

continuously adjusted by the current skills and enthusiasms of its members. People from around Britain come on holiday just so they can work in the garden. There are also lectures and courses, members run a specialist library, maintain an extensive photographic and documentary archive and operate a Met Office approved weather station. From Easter to October plants propagated by members and reared in the greenhouses and nursery beds are for sale.

Holehird, Patterdale Road, Windermere. LA23 1NP. Tel. 015394 46008. www.holehirdgardens.org.uk

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