Littlethorpe Manor Gardens

Location: Ripon, North Yorkshire

Website: Littlethorpe Manor Gardens website

Set in the 11 acre grounds of Littlethorpe Manor, the gardens have been designed and developed over the last 23 years by Head Gardener, Eddie Harland. The gardens first opened to the public in 2002 through the National Garden Scheme.

The garden is on two levels – an upper level of 4 acres around the house, fairly formal in layout, with 7 acres of parkland below. The design is not an attempt at an historical recreation, but more the creation of a garden sympathetic to the Manor and its surrounds. On the upper level, a series of four gardens with different themes are linked together by repeated use of the same hard landscape materials and key structural planting (Hornbeam, Yew and Box hedging, with Bergenia, Luzula and Hakonechloa groundcover). A path running from the stable block to the drive links the gardens together via the Holly walk, Pergola and Fountain lawn.

The heart of the estate is the walled garden, reflecting Mrs Thackray’s desire to relate the four seasons to the cycle of life. In the centre is Ygdrassil, the Norwegian World Tree – the symbolic Tree of Life. The circular features here are repeated as a theme throughout the garden.

The gardens around the house are increasingly formal. The Sunken garden parterre is based upon the White Rose of York emblem, the clipped box and trelliswork combining well with the white rendered Manor house.

The main formal axis of the garden, from the terrace down to the classical pavilion, reflects Mr Thackray’s ambition to create a ‘mini arcadia’.

To the front of the house, the new drive introduces a more contemporary feel, but still repeating the same key plants, materials and circular motifs.

The parkland has been developed with naturalistic perennial planting around the pond, a new winter garden and autumn and winter arboretums to extend the seasons. Wildlife is an essential part of the garden, with Brown Owls, Kingfisher, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Sparrow Hawk, Moorhens, Ducks, and a host of small birds including Nuthatch, Long Tailed Tits and Tree Creepers.

Placement opportunity: 1 year

Staff numbers: 3 full-time gardeners; 2 volunteers

Ease of access: Littlethorpe Manor is a little way off the A61. The nearest train station is Harrogate, 12 miles away. Ripon, 1.5 miles away, has a variety of supermarkets, restaurants and other amenities.

Accommodation: No dedicated accommodation available.


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