Want to be part of a once in a lifetime opportunity to restore a significant piece of Wollaton Hall history?
Go down in the history of Wollaton Park by helping FoWP, WHaCS and Wollaton Park management and staff with the restoration of the Walled Garden as a volunteer!
History of the Gardens
Wollaton Hall was built by Sir Francis Willoughby in 1588. In 1712 the Willoughbys were ennobled and took the title Baron Middleton. The 2nd Baron, who inherited in 1729, and successive Barons thereafter spent considerable sums of money over the next 100 years, on improving their Park and Hall,
The building of the new Walled Kitchen Garden between 1783 and 1788, was part of some massive improvements, and designed to provide all the flowers, fruit and vegetables required by the family, their servants and guests at the Hall. The idea of a walled garden was to shelter plants from wind and frost. Walls can also create a microclimate, by radiating the sun’s heat which can raise the ambient temperature
In 1924, both Wollaton Hall and Park were sold to Nottingham City Council and the walled garden remained a nursery, maintained by council workers, until the 1980s. Over time the site fell into disrepair, with overgrown bramble bushes, vandalism and parts of the wall falling down.
At some point the great glasshouses and the conservatory either fell down or were demolished. Only the home farm (now Mr Man’s restaurant), the walled garden, some derelict potting sheds and the Head Gardener’s cottage survive. Sections of the walls have collapsed with some sections gone completely. The glasshouse is now just the brick base, which has been converted into offices, and the gardener’s outdoor loo remains!
The Walled Garden was made a Grade II listed building in 1989 and we are now working to restore this area.
Stage 1 is to repair the walls and outer area so that the space is safe to be used again. The cost of this stage is estimated at £20,000. The current priority is to find strategies to stabilise the walls and prevent further deterioration.
Stage 2 would be complete restoration if funding can be sourced and is likely to cost millions of pounds. It will need to result in the walled garden becoming financially self-funding and sustainable, whilst remaining suitable for the Park and area.
Current main activities:
- Helping us stabilise the walls and prevent further deterioration of the area
- Clearing the area of vegetation
- Collecting all historical material – bricks, tiles, timber work, architectural features
- Brick reclamation
- Clearing paths to improve public access
We welcome support from the local community, students and corporate groups who can choose to come for a one-of session or join our team of regular volunteers.
When: The group meets every Tuesday and Thursday 9.30am by the 508 café at Wollaton Park. We tend to garden until around 1pm.