The first visitors on a unique guided tour have been led round two of the country’s most admired gardens.
The “two gardens” tour takes in the totally contrasting formal Mawson-designed gardens at Rydal Hall, and then, adjacent, the Romantic garden at Rydal Mount, in the heart of the Lake District in the “year of the English garden”.
Rydal Hall head gardener Kate Jackson (pictured here with a group of visitors) was joined by Rydal Mount curator Peter Elkington to lead the walk.
“We are great admirers of each other’s gardens and it seemed obvious that a joint tour could provide something really special for garden lovers,” said Kate. “We’re really excited about it.”
At Rydal Hall, one of the most magnificent buildings in the Lakes now used as a conference and retreat centre for the diocese of Carlisle, the formal Edwardian gardens were designed by landscape architect and town planner Thomas Hayton Mawson in 1911. The Italianate terracing includes herbaceous borders and lawns set against the imposing architecture of the Hall.
Nearby Rydal Mount was the home of the poet William Wordsworth who began the work of landscaping the grounds in a natural way in the manner of the Romantic movement. His designs and plans are used by the gardeners there today, to recreate what the poet intended.
“It is remarkable that in a tiny village such as this there should be two prime examples of completely opposite and contrasting styles of gardens,” said Peter Elkington, the curator of Rydal Mount, which is still owned by the Wordsworth family. “There is probably nowhere else in the country where in such close proximity you can see two completely different approaches to garden design.”
He added: “The first group found it rally fascinating and very good value.”
Tours take place once a month, and booking must be made by calling Rydal Mount 0n 015394 33002.
The cost of the tour is £12 per person.