A Garden Reborn: Kiplin Hall Gardens and Pleasure Grounds
The only surviving evidence indicating the existence of a garden prior to the 19th century is from a plan of the estate dated June 5 1723 showing an inner and an outer courtyard at the east front of the Hall.
Over the years the grounds and gardens were developed, but sadly, following the death of Admiral Carpenter in 1904, the estate, which supported the Hall, was gradually sold off by his daughter, Sarah, and the gardens went into decline.
The gardens and grounds are now undergoing major restoration, bringing new interpretations based on the framework of the designs of the last 400 years.
A Head Gardener, the first for around 100 years, was appointed in 2010 to undertake the restoration work. He works two days a week with a team of dedicated volunteers – new recruits are always welcome!
This is an exciting, slowly unfolding venture, giving a glimpse into the history of gardening, inviting future visits to see the developments unfold. In time we hope to restore the whole of this fascinating site.
Last year a new Laburnum Walk was planted, and the new Perennial Garden is coming into flower. The area to the south of the Walled Garden will be transformed with the creation of a hot border, and the Topiary Garden has been laid out and planted as a White Garden.
The Topiary Garden
The peacocks, pyramids and domes are gradually re-appearing in the overgrown hedges. The yew planted in the 1870s, had become very overgrown, but thanks to a severe cut and reshape, the topiary is almost restored to its former glory.
White, Victorian benches complement the new beds planted with white plants and flowers.
The Rose Garden
Climbing roses grow against the mellow, red brick walls of the Victorian library wing and lavender and roses surround the paths. All the roses growing in this peaceful garden were chosen for their relationship to old rose varieties and for their fragrance and longevity. The diamond shapes in the path and planting patterns reflect the diapering in the hall’s 17th century brickwork.
The Rose Garden, was opened in 2007, by William Hague, M.P. who is now Foreign Secretary.
The Walled Garden
The Walled Garden, which was built in the 18th century, has two decorative gates that would have been used by the family.
In the south wall is a beautiful Arts and Crafts wrought iron gate that was copied from ironwork at Belton House in Lincolnshire, the home of Adelaide, wife of Earl Brownlow, and sister of Walter Cecil Carpenter, Kiplin’s late 19th century owner. The gate was manufactured by Polters of South Molton Street, London.
The gate in the north wall is known as ‘the Chinese Gate’, which leads onto a path into the woodland and an avenue leading to the vineries, which we hope to restore. The three wooden gates in the garden were for use by the gardeners.
There is a hot wall in the garden, where peaches and soft fruits were grown beneath moveable canopies, and greenhouses also stood close to this area.
Until 2010 the Walled Garden was laid entirely to grass, but now the paths have been recut. Some of these paths are wider to allow the passage of a donkey and cart to bring manure to the garden. The narrower paths would comfortably accommodate a man and his wheelbarrow.
Young fruit trees have been planted, and the Head Gardener has started the process of training them espalier fashion, back against the walls. Fruit trees have also been planted along the grass path leading to the iron gate, and one venerable specimen still stands amongst the saplings, having stood the test of time!
The Walled Garden, which laid fallow for many years, has new beds where vegetables are now being grown. A cutting garden is establishing, an asparagus bed, fruit trees, rhubarb and soft fruit bushes again grow in this productive space.
Produce from the Walled Garden is on sale in front of the Hall.
Would you like to help with the development of the Walled Garden? Working under the direction of the Head Gardener, Chris Baker, Volunteers are needed to help with any aspect of the Walled Garden on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Please telephone Dawn or Marcia on 01748 818178 for further information.
The Sensory Garden
Hornbeams, planted in 2011 form the entrance to the new Sensory Garden. The hornbeam hedge behind will form a screen, and the red twigged limes in front will be pleached to create a window out towards the lake. The scent of camomile and thyme, the sound of the gently blowing grasses, the palette of colours and the mixture of textures are designed to appeal to the senses. Three locally made oak benches complement the setting.
The Lakeside Walk
The mile-long path around the lake presents beautiful views back to the Hall. Wild flowers thrive beside the paths and in the shallows of the lake, which is home, or breeding ground, for many birds. Herons, swans, great cormorants, greylag and Canada geese, tufted duck, great-crested grebe, oystercatchers and lapwing are amongst the birds sighted here.
The Peninsula Wood
This area of woodland formed part of Kiplin Hall’s Georgian and Victorian pleasure grounds. The wood runs beside and through the parkland, and allowed 18th and 19th century family members, friends and guests to enjoy gentle walks through trees, ornamental and wild flowers, punctuated by lily ponds and views across the parkland.
Only one pond remains, and this had become very silted and overgrown, but much has been done to restore the area, including Victorian style planting. As this establishes the pond should again become an important feature of the Pleasure Grounds.
The winding path affords views out across the parkland to the avenue of limes planted in 1892. Shade loving plants grow in the wood, including Ruskus (butchers’ broom) Primulas, Ptarmigan Lilies, Lily of the Valley, Solomon’s Seal, Bluebells, Geronicum, red and white Currants and Snowberry, all planted to create a manmade, but naturalised covering for the woodland floor.
Along the east perimeter of the wood are the remains of a ha-ha. In the 18th and 19th centuries the family may have enjoyed uninterrupted views from the woodland, where a summer house stood, towards the Cleveland Hills.
The thousands of snowdrops and aconites that grow in the woods and around the Hall draw many people to the gardens at Kiplin each February. Their original date of planting is uncertain, but it is probable that they were introduced to the gardens in the nineteenth century. The carpets of flowers are a beautiful sight and a welcome harbinger of spring.
Snowdrops in the green, as well as aconites, are on sale during the snowdrop season.
Gardens for Fun!
Children love the gardens at Kiplin, where they can run on the lawns, play with the traditional, wooden garden games like croquet and quoits and enjoy dipping in the woodland pond. Imaginations run free in this lovely, old garden.
Best of all, there are no extras to pay after you have bought your admission tickets (except ice creams and cakes that is!), and there are plenty of places to picnic.
Admission to the gardens and grounds only
Family (2+3) £11.50