Location: Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk
Website: Holkham Hall website
The main focus for the trainee would be our 6 acre walled garden, which was built by Samuel Wyatt in the 1790s. Although built as a productive garden, we are in the process of revitalising this space. There is an ongoing scheme of restoration and improvement works within the garden, including the creation of a new one acre ornamental garden, which is due for completion in Autumn 2021. There is also an extensive range of historic glasshouses, two of which are currently undergoing full restoration and will be utilised for growing a more extensive range of tender plants.
The gardens around the Hall itself feature Italianate formal parterres designed by William Nesfield, as well as a large arboretum with some national champion trees. We occasionally open the terraces and arboretum to the general public for special tours and for this reason are also wanting to develop this part of the gardens more.
Holkham Hall sits at the centre of a 26,000-acre estate and is surrounded by beautiful landscaped parkland created by William Kent with later alteration and influences by Capability Brown and Humphry Repton. Holkham holds within its archives the first ever Red Book produced by Repton.
There is a great opportunity to experience a good spectrum of skills at Holkham. We have a large grass care commitment during the visitor season. We use ride-on and pedestrian mowers (rotary and cylinder), along with strimmers, to meet these demands. In the Walled Garden, we attend to more seasonal tasks, including pruning, propagation, raising seedlings, producing vegetables/fruit and cut flowers (for the Hall and our restaurant), bulb planting, and working with school groups. We also draw special attention towards sustainable horticultural practices, complete most of our own machinery repairs/maintenance and sell plants raised from our own stock within the Walled Garden.
In the Walled Garden, we rely on an ever-growing team of volunteers to help meet our labour demand, so a trainee would gain experience of working with and managing volunteers.
We help with a number of events across the estate, including a food festival and our annual plant fair. The business model is indicative of how a lot of modern estates and gardens are run today and would be a good grounding for any budding horticulturalist.
Placement opportunity: 1 year
Staff numbers: 8 full-time gardeners; more than 50 volunteers
Ease of access: The nearest train station is King’s Lynn (approximately 23 miles away). The Norfolk Coasthopper bus runs from King’s Lynn and Hunstanton to Sheringham and has two stops at Holkham.
Holkham is two miles west of Wells-next-the-Sea, a seafront town with supermarkets, local produce, doctor’s surgery and other amenities.
Accommodation: We could offer accommodation in the form of a room in a shared house on the estate. The trainee would be expected to meet some of the costs here, dependent on the agreed payscale.