• 4 June 2021 4:46 pm


The Barnsley House Spa Garden recreates the combination of the rural Gloucestershire countryside meeting a contemporary Cotswold garden. It combines the essence of the classic Rosemary Verey Garden by using both an old English method of protection from livestock – the Ha-Ha – and modern construction methods.

The garden for Chelsea is an adaptation of the new Spa Garden to be built at Barnsley House. Some of its inspiration has come from the original garden, translated into a unique design by Woodhams Landscapes design team, the present owners, Tim Haigh and Rupert Pendered, and the Barnsley House head gardener, Richard Gatenby.

The garden can be viewed from two sides. First, across a natural field rolling down to an open ditch and a cut Cotswold stone Ha-Ha with a mown grass panel and with planting beds incorporating many plants to be used in natural spa and beauty products as well as showing interesting planting combinations. Second, it can be viewed across the side pathway of Cotswold stone chippings towards the mirrored water wall that runs into a rill and then into a square pool covered by a clear glass panel which is next to a stone terrace.

The main planting structure will be provided by an established Aesculus Hippocastanum as an anchor to the site. There will also be a glade of single- and multi-stemmed Betula together with shade and partial shade-loving plants. A central stone sculpture using weathered pieces of an old Cotswold wall from Barnsley House garden has been constructed into a contemporary curve which will be flanked by the mirrored water wall.

This garden will show how people can create their own Sanctuary and even if they are unable to re-create the whole garden, smaller sections would be achievable such as the dining terrace or the Betula glade, which will have the essence and magic of the Barnsley Spa Garden.


The new Spa Garden at Barnsley House in Gloucestershire has been chosen to go on display in May at the world’s most prestigious horticultural event, Chelsea Flower Show. The garden was designed as part of the award-winning hotel’s expansion for this summer, which includes a luxurious spa and treatment rooms, the garden and eight new rooms.

The south-facing garden, which combines the essence of the classic Rosemary Verey garden, will be tucked away behind Barnsley’s summer house and will be constructed entirely of plants and hedging from the existing garden and local Cotswold stone.

The design for the Chelsea Flower Show garden was a team effort by the garden designer Stephen Woodhams (who won gold medals at Chelsea in 1994 and 2002), Barnsley House head gardener Richard Gatenby and the joint owners, Tim Haigh and Rupert Pendered.

“The problem with some Chelsea gardens,” said Stephen, “is that they have no genuine life. But for this one Richard and his team have already set aside turf and hedges from the garden and grounds and, combined with the local stone and an established horse chestnut tree, everything about it will say Barnsley House and the Cotswolds.”

The garden recreates the combination of the rural Gloucestershire countryside and a contemporary Cotswold garden. The mature horse chestnut acts as an anchor to the site, which includes a ha-ha and a glade of birch together with shade and shade-loving plants. The ten-foot high wall curves downwards and is flanked by a mirrored water wall.

“We are delighted and honoured to be chosen by the Royal Horticultural Society,” said Tim Haigh. “And all the other building work is under way so that the spa will be open in June, immediately after we have installed the garden which will have been at Chelsea. It’s very exciting but involves detailed planning and very hard work to get the garden from here to Chelsea and then bring it back to Barnsley immediately after the Flower Show closes.”

The Barnsley House Spa will be a fusion of traditional Cotswold stone and contemporary materials creating a stunning ambience for relaxation and meditation as well as offering a range of high quality treatments. It will offer its own range of 100% vegetarian and organic health and beauty products using plants grown in Barnsley House garden.

“We can hardly believe sometimes that we’ve been chosen,” said Tim. “Everything is well on course…but May does sometimes seem a little too close for comfort!”