The Garden House 4354

Tavistock, England, Devon, West Devon

Brief Description

The Garden House is a plantsman's garden created since 1945 by Lionel Fortesque (and now owned by a trust of that name). The garden is set within the walls of part of a medieval monastery and now spreads to some 7 acres.


The history of the site is linked to that of the abbey of Buckland Monachorum and the local church. In the early-14th century the abbot built a house on the site. After the dissolution in 1539 it became the vicarage. This ruined building is now a garden feature. The current Garden House was the early 19th-century vicarage, sold as a private dwelling in the 1920s when a new vicarage was built. The Fortescues bought the property in the 1940s and developed the gardens over a period of about 4 decades.

Visitor Facilities

The site is open between February and November from 10.30 until 5 pm. Please see:


Steeply sloping

Detailed Description

The house and garden that comprise the Garden House were purchased in the 1940s by Lionel Fortesque (and are now owned by a trust of that name) within the walls of part of a medieval monastery. The gardens were developed from about 1945 and the site now covers some 7 acres.

The garden was built around a stone tower and walls which recall Sissinghurst and Scotney. There are some 3 hectares of mixed planting with lawns and trees. From the tower there is a bird's eye view of the enclosed garden.

Fortesque was a collector and developed the garden on a steep slope on the edge of Dartmoor, planted on five levels in compartmental style, with herbaceous borders, trees, unusual shrubs and stone paths. There are views to Cornwall.

  • Ruin
  • Description: The ruins of a 16th-century vicarage. This ruin is now a romantic feature in the Walled Garden and features a tower with a spiral staircase and a thatched barn.
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  • House (featured building)
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Herbaceous Border
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

The site is open between February and November from 10.30 until 5 pm. Please see:

Civil Parish

  • Buckland


01793 445050

Official Website

Other websites


  • The Fortescue Garden Trust