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Chesters House, Walled Garden


Chesters walled garden was built as a sheltered fruit and glasshouse garden for Chesters House. A separate, now empty, walled garden in a nearby field was for the more prosaic vegetables.

Garden writer Susie White has re-designed the garden. It is now a herb and herbaceous garden with natural planting. The garden is organically run and contains the National Collections of Thyme, Marjoram and Burnet.


gently sloping


Chollerford, Hexham, Northumberland, NE46 4BQ,

Walled Kitchen Garden

Chesters walled garden has brick walls on four sides. It is further sheltered by mixed woods of beech and yew, which surround the garden on three sides. This provides as ideal microclimate for growing herbs which otherwise would struggle in the northern climate (White, 2008: 1).

The garden is two acres (1.3 hectares) and slopes gently to the south (White, 2008: 1). The south wall is lower and provides views over the parkland. An entrance in this wall is the possible formal entrance for guests visiting Chesters house. It has a double gate set between two gateposts topped with stone pyramids.

The north wall is 12 feet (3.6 metres) high and has the remains of a double heated wall system. The flues can still be seen at the back of the wall but only one chimney has survived. Later in the gardens history a gravity fed boiler was installed in a sunken building on the north side of the wall. This heated the top range of glasshouses. Originally the north wall had glasshouses along most of its length. There is only one glasshouse remaining but this is still used to propagate plants for the garden. Opposite the glasshouse are a selection of espalier fruit trees. These are part of the original garden plan. A photograph of 1891 shows them in the garden making them over 100 years old (White, 2008: 1).

The garden is divided into various smaller gardens. The main herb bed runs the full length of the top glasshouse. It contains a mixture of culinary and medicinal herbs with a section devoted to dye plants. There are about 900 herbs on display throughout the garden (White, 2008: 1).

In the north east corner of the garden is the mediterranean, roman and vegetable gardens. The mediterranean garden has a rectangular lily pond surrounded by aromatic plants such as lavenders, rosemaries and thymes. There is also a section devoted to flowers for harvesting and drying. This includes a 30 metre long pink lavender hedge (White, 2008: 2).

The roman garden took inspiration from nearby Chesters fort and also because the route of a roman road crosses the garden. The roman garden displays herbs which were grown under roman occupation. The Museum of Antiquities at Newcastle University assisted with the garden content (White, 2008: 2).

In the south east corner of the garden are herbaceous borders and the formal garden which replaced the original rose garden (White, 2008: 3). The formal garden is made up of rectangular beds bordered with box hedges and surrounded by grassed paths. They contain a mixture of purple blue salvia and sedums. The central bed has an urn at its centre.

In the south west corner of the garden is the stock beds, the knot garden and the long border. The long border is a 30 metre long herbaceous border bounded by clipped box hedges (White, 2008: 3).

The knot garden was laid out to a design of 1617 by William Lawson. It is made of box plants that were taken as cuttings from the old hedges in the garden (White, 2008: 4).

The north west corner of the garden is occupied by the thyme bank, the pool garden and the gold and silver bed. The thyme bank is located opposite the long border and is probably the gardens most famous feature. It consists of a raised bank facing south to make the most of full sun conditions. The bed contains part of the National Thyme Collection (White, 2008: 4).

The gold and silver border has a mixture of variegated plants with gold and silver foliage. Finally the pool garden has been created to provide a secret garden room through the use of tall fennels and grasses which hide the garden. At the centre is a circular formal pool (White, 2008: 5).

The east, west and south walls also have borders running their full length. The walls are used for climbing roses.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts


01483 211465


The site is six miles north of Hexham and half a mile west of Chollerford. By car take the B6318 towards Chesters Roman Fort and then follow the brown signs.

During the summer season there is a Roman Wall bus service which stops at Chesters Roman Fort. The gardens can then be reached by a five minute walk.


Susie White



18th Century (1701 to 1800)

Features & Designations


  • NCCPG National Plant Collection

  • Reference: Burnet
  • NCCPG National Plant Collection

  • Reference: Marjoram
  • NCCPG National Plant Collection

  • Reference: Thyme

Plant Environment

  • Environment
  • Walled Garden


  • Gate
  • Description: The south wall gate with gateposts. The gateposts are topped with stone pyramids. It is possible that this is the original formal entrance for guests visiting Chesters House.
  • Gate
  • Description: A wrought iron gate in the west wall.
  • Ornamental Pond
  • Description: A circular pond located in the pool garden.
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  • Ornamental Pond
  • Description: A rectangular pond located in the Mediterranean garden.
  • Urn
  • Description: An ornamental cast stone urn located in the centre of the formal garden.
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  • Border
  • Description: The thyme border was created in 1987. It is part of the National Thyme Collection.
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  • Heated Wall
  • Description: The north wall is a heated wall dating back to the Victorian period. Only one chimney still survives. The flues can still be seen on the north side of the wall. This method of heating the glasshouses ceased when a gravity fed boiler was installed in the early-20th century.
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  • Glasshouse
  • Description: The glasshouse is located on the north wall. It was rebuilt by the estate joiner in the early 1980s. It is not heated but provides shelter for grapevines, peaches, nectarines and jasmine.
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  • House (featured building)
  • Description: Chesters House
  • Walled Garden
  • Description: Built as a sheltered fruit and glasshouse garden with brick walls, sheltered by mixed woods
  • Lilly Pond
  • Description: rectangular lily pond surrounded by aromatic plants
Key Information





Plant Environment



18th Century (1701 to 1800)


Part: standing remains



Civil Parish





  • Sarah Collins