Gardens in Devon: beautiful grounds to visit

There are acres of magnificent gardens in Devon open for the public to enjoy and explore.You’ll find them in country, coast and city, round castles, stately homes and historic buildings, and they’re a great draw for enthusiastic gardeners and all lovers of peace, quiet and natural beauty. Read on for our guide to some of Devon’s best gardens, plus details of some great gardening events in 2015.

Gardens in devon powderham castle toby bucklands garden festival

Powderham Castle
Powderham Castle’s gardens (pictured) are on a south-facing slope with a glasshouse built by the architect Charles Fowler, which now provides a wet weather shelter for visitors and is used by the estate to supply plants to the Plant Centre at Powderham Country Store just within the castle gates. Originally the Victorian walled garden, it’s now home to the many friendly Powderham pets and an adventure play and picnic area, making this a great garden for the whole family. The walled garden, play area and pets corner are open from 11am, (closing times vary during the season) and is accessible to visitors with wheelchairs and pushchairs, although there are some steep slopes.
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  • Toby Buckland’s Garden Festival
    Renowned gardener, author and BBC Gardeners’ World presenter Toby Buckland hosts his fantastic annual garden festival in the late spring/early summer in the lovely surrounding of Powderham Castle near Exeter. Visitors can expect to see a fantastic showcase of plants from local nurseries and growers, enjoy live music, good food and entertainment, and learn from talks from a great programme of high profile gardening experts – previous years have included Bob Flowerdew, Christine Walkden and Jim Buttress.
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Stone Lane Garden and Sculpture Exhibition
Stone Lane Garden is an enchanting five acre woodland and water garden on the edge of Dartmoor. Famous for a national collection of birch and alder trees, the garden also features many pools and streams, and is home to a collection of garden sculptures which remain from the 2014 Mythic Garden Sculpture Exhibition which marked the garden’s 22nd year. With something to be found in every corner of the garden, Stone Lane is open all year round and is equally magical and unique in both summer and winter. Look out for the new Mythic Garden Sculpture Exhibition  “Folklore” from Saturday 2nd May – Monday 7th October 2015. Entry Prices Adults £5, Children and Concessions £2.50. Telephone: 01884 253200.
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Gardens in devon Pecorama Sun GardenPecorama
Pecorama in Beer is home to the world’s foremost manufacturer of model railway track PECO Streamline and PECO Setrack. Completed in July 2000, its Millennium Gardens feature a series of celestially themed garden rooms linked by scented walkways, special water features and stunning stonework. Each garden has an individual name, reflective of its floral features, colours and the plants that can be found. The Beer Heights Light Railway takes visitors on a mile-long rail ride through the gardens on real steam locomotives, making this a wonderful family garden day out. Contact Pecorama for seasonal entry prices and membership cards. Telephone: 01297 21542.
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Gardens in devon Tiverton CastleTiverton Castle

The beautiful walled gardens of Tiverton Castle feature rare and interesting plants, colourful spring bulb borders, a pergola planted with rapid growing and scented climbing plants, a well-stocked kitchen garden, apple orchard and woodland garden, all situated in the romantic grounds of the atmospheric Tiverton Castle, originally built in 1106. The gardens cover some three acres and include pathways leading towards the River Exe. Garden Only Entry: £2. Castle Admission: Adults £7, concessions half price, children £3. Telephone 01884 253200.
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Elizabethan Gardens
These Elizabethan Gardens sit in a 16th Century Street in Plymouth’s Historic Barbican where wealthy merchants once built their houses. Providing an oasis of tranquillity amidst a sea of shoppers and tourist activity the garden features very low box hedges containing beds of colourful flowers and fragrant herbs in the traditional, old Elizabethan manner. Visitors to the gardens will walk the cobbled paths and areas of old slate before relaxing on stone seats beside the cooling garden fountain – the perfect way to reflect and embark on a journey back in time to Elizabethan Plymouth. Free Attraction. Tel: 01752 306330.
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Gardens in devon torre abbeyTorre Abbey Gardens
The Torre Abbey Gardens feature a range of marvellous plants, trees and church ruins, and include a novel display inspired by the works of local writer Agatha Christie. The Abbey has dug deep into the murky world of poisons, antidotes and remedies from Christie’s novels to create a garden featuring a variety of plants that have been known to cure or kill (depending on one’s motives). Of course, the garden is not really dangerous and has been designed to provide entertainment with less potent garden cultivars planted but creating an interesting take on a traditional garden. The garden also features one of the Westcountry’s finest Dahlia collections and there is a new medieval children garden which focuses on the senses with turf seats, willow tunnels and sensory planting. General opening times: Wednesdays to Sundays – last admission at 4pm. Entry prices £7.50, seniors £6.25, children £3. Telephone: 01803 293593
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  • Don’t miss! The International Agatha Christie Festival 
    At Torre Abbey there’ll be a focus on the potent plants as part of The International Agatha Christie Festival. The festival will run from September 11-19, 2015 and Torre Abbey will also be hosting the Garden Party to Die For.
NAT0029Northernhay Gardens

Northernhay Gardens in the heart of Exeter city centre are of outstanding historic significance. Incorporating a good stretch of Roman wall and the only length of Saxon town wall to be seen in England, this is the oldest public open space in England, being originally laid out in 1612 as a pleasure walk for Exeter residents. The garden is home to a number of mature trees and hosts some of the city’s most impressive seasonal horticultural displays, including the 59 varieties within the Cornus collection, and wildlife including peregrines and sparrowhawks have recently been spotted making the gardens their home. Neighbouring Rougemont Gardens also incorporate some major historic features – the Roman city wall and bank, the gatehouse, bank and ditches of William the Conqueror’s Castle. Northernhay Gardens is accessible by foot from Northernhay Place, Queen Street and paths from New North Road. The gardens are open from 7:30am till dusk, and entry is free. Telephone: 01392 262630.
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Dartington Hall Grade II Listed Gardens

At the heart of a 1200 acre estate sits the Dartington Hall grade II listed gardens. Seasonal garden highlights include  tree magnolias, camellias, cherry blossom and snake’s head fritillaries in the woodland walks in Spring. From late May to early June the wildflower meadows’ wild orchids, bluebells and primroses burst into colour, then in summer the sunny border is the star, with plants and flowers in blue, yellow, white and green. During autumn the leaf colour is at its most spectacular, in the maples of High Meadow and Valley Field, and in winter the witch hazels near Flora bloom. The gardens also feature a 1500 year old yew tree and a famous sculpture by Henry Moore. Open from dawn until dusk. Telephone 01803 847000
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Marwood Hill Gardens
This magical 20 acre private garden was created by Dr Jimmy Smart VMH in the late 1950s and sits in a tucked away valley near Barnstaple. The gardens are a wonderful place where visitors can relax and enjoy the impressive collections of plants, shrubs and trees including three National Collections – astilbes, tulbaghia and japanese iris and three lakes. The Garden Tea Room boasts spectacular views across the valley and offers a selection of locally sourced and homemade hot and cold dishes and cakes. Dogs on leads welcome. Entry Prices – adults £6 children £2.50. Tel: 01271 342528.
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RHS Garden Rosemoor
Set within wonderful woodlands, RHS Rosemoor is a highly ornamental garden with shrubs, roses, perennials and bulbs. Originally created by Lady Anne Berry, the gardens still have original features including the woodland garden and woodland banks, as well as a huge variety of ornamental woodland trees and shrubs including Collingwood Ingram cherry introductions. There is also the beautiful Queen Mother Rose Garden containing a marvellous collection of hybrid tea and floribunda roses, and a maze of pathways which gradually leads to the side of the valley with views overlooking Rosemoor House. Entry – adults £8.95, children £4.50. Tel: 0845 265 8072
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