Holker Hall and Gardens
DescriptionHolker Hall & Gardens
THE GARDENS…A SENSE OF SPACE
Holker’s gardens are a feast for the eyes. In soft and gentle contrast to the surrounding Lakeland countryside, they feature the evolving inspiration of generations of gardeners who have lovingly tended the shrubs and trees, many of which date back to the 1750’s. However, the introduction of new features and species means more has changed in the last 30 years than in the 300 years preceding them. The undemanding contours and thoughtful landscaping of the gardens also mean most parts are easily accessible for visitors in wheelchairs.
Enlarged, redesigned and completely re-landscaped in the 1980’s, the Sunken Garden features a local stone pool built by Estate staff, a Lion’s Head water feature from Italy, and gazebos with seats of local limestone and blue-black slate. Sheltered and warm, it’s a haven for the more exotic tender plants.
One of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee ‘50 Great Trees for 50 Great Years’, the Holker Lime is one of Britain’s grandest trees. Planted early in the 17th century, this magnificent specimen has been tended by generations of gardeners, until today its huge trunk has a phenomenal girth measuring 7.9 metres!
WILDFLOWER MEADOW & LABYRINTH
With 30 species of grass and perennial wildflower, the meadow evokes memories of when fields and hedgerows were a riot of wild colour. Acting as a link between this and the formal gardens is the Labyrinth, inspired by a design from a Hindi temple, influenced by Cumbrian stone circles and constructed using local slate and stone.
The Elliptical Garden was created in 1993 from a ground plan devised by Lady Cavendish. Although seemingly circular in the centre, it is an ellipsoidal form designed to fit within rectangular boundaries. Burlington slate from the Estate’s quarries features heavily, as do cobbles from Walney Island near Barrow.
Developed in the late 1980’s from an old tennis court, the Summer Garden has matured into a strikingly beautiful area. Separated from the park by hornbeam hedges and featuring a central path clad in Portuguese Laurel arches, its trees and herbaceous borders are at their most striking in the summer months.
Flanked at its base by two limestone obelisks, the spectacular Cascade climbs through
rhododendrons and evergreen oak leaves to reach the 17th century marble statue of Neptune, created by Italian craftsmen. The water flowing over the inlaid zigzag slate pattern is a natural flow from a network of underground streams.
Standing on a plinth of local Burlington Slate, this statue, brought to the Estate by the 7th Duke of Devonshire, commemorates Inigo Jones, the first and greatest of England's Renaissance architects.
Through the Kissing Gate, beyond the meadow, is the Holker Hall Sundial. Five feet in diameter and weighing nearly a tonne, this shallow blue-grey Lakeland Slate bowl was designed by Sir Mark Lennox-Boyd, of the British Sundial Society, and emulates the earliest known sundial invented some 2300 years ago.
THE PLEASURE GROUNDS…A SENSE OF SCALE
Boasting some of the most breathtakingly beautiful countryside in Britain, our vast verdant parkland is bordered on one side by the dramatic Lakeland hills, and on the other by the magical expanse of Morecambe Bay. Century old trees offer shade for the herds of fallow deer and the saltmarsh pastures provide perfect grazing for the flocks of Saltmarsh Lamb.