Hill House, Wickwar 1738

South Gloucestershire, England

Brief Description

The garden of Hill House (listed building grade II) is situated on an earlier site than the house, which dates from the early-18th century. The house and garden were restored in 1968. It is densely planted, most recently with mature trees of beech, ash, cedar, pines and medlar. Features include a terrace, urns by Lutyens from Eaton Hall and a battlemented wall with miniature turrets. There is also a pond, fountain, 15th-century stone columns from Verona, an aviary, a pleached lime walk, a rose garden, island beds, a kitchen garden and a wild garden. This record was checked with South Gloucestershire Historic Environment Records Officer - June 2010.

History

The early-18th century house was restored in 1968. Mature trees and boundary walls remain from this period, but the design of the garden dates from the 1960s.

Detailed Description

The garden is consistently maintained. At the time of the last survey (1988) the care of the garden was one of the main preoccupations of the owner, the Dowager Duchess of Westminster. The layout is changed frequently, adding to the beds and removing plants and trees which have grown too big. Many trees and shrubs have recently been planted.

The garden is entered via a short drive, sloping steeply up from the road. This leads to a wide gravelled area at the front of the house. To the east of this, opposite the house, there is a grass walk sloping down through an avenue of cypresses to a modern folly. The square of land projecting to the north is rough grass, with several mature trees including pines, copper beech and ash.

The entrance to the garden is via a gate on the north side of the house. The path leads to a terrace behind the house, almost enclosed to the west by the trees and bushes surrounding the pond with a small fountain at one end. From the terrace, a long level lawn sweeps half way up the garden. On the south side, almost hidden, are the outbuildings. There are two small greenhouses and the kitchen garden. An old medlar tree grows against one of the outbuildings. The beds running down each side of the lawn are very deep, planted with trees, bushes and many perennial plants.

On the north side, a strip of lawn divides two beds, reaching the high stone wall and creating small sheltered bays. Much of the north wall is covered with vines and other climbing plants. Island beds create other enclosed areas on the south side of the garden, including a rose garden.

The lawn ends with a row of four stone columns, placed in front of a large cedar. Against the north wall at this point is an aviary, and a gravelled walk between pleached limes with flower beds on either side.

The second half of the garden beyond the cedar tree is somewhat wilder, with paths mown through uncut grass and patches of wild flowers, both planted and self-sown. There are many trees and shrubs, both standing singly and in small groups. There are a few older trees, mainly pines, but most have been planted since the 1960s. The very end of the garden is a small paddock where a flock of sheep are sometimes kept.

Features
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: The house is rendered with a hipped Cotswold stone slate roof. It is in Queen Anne style, with two storeys and five bays. It was restored in 1968.
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  • Urn
  • Description: There are two stone urns about 18 inches tall, standing on stone pillars. They were designed by Edwin Lutyens and brought by the Duchess from her previous home, Eaton Hall in Cheshire.
  • Tree Avenue
  • Description: There is an avenue of cypresses planted after the Duchess bought the field opposite the house.
  • Garden Wall
  • Description: There is a battlemented stone wall, about ten feet wide, with a miniature turret at each end and a circular window in the centre. There is a small stone basin (empty when the site was last surveyed in 1988) in front. The wall was built from stone removed from the house when a chimney brest was demolished.
  • Pond
  • Description: There is a stone-edged pond, stocked with carp.
  • Fountain
  • Description: A fountain flows from a small stone statue.
  • Column
  • Description: There are four 15th century stone columns brought back from Verona by an ancestor of the owner's family.
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Terrace, Wilderness
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Wickwar
History

Detailed History

The garden as it exists today has been almost entirely designed and made by the owner since the 1960s. The only remains of earlier gardens are the mature trees – cedars, pines, beech and ash – and the high stone walls surrounding the property. The garden was virtually uncultivated before the present occupancy, and the house had been empty for some time.
Contact
References

References

Contributors

  • Hilary Larg

    1

  • Avon Gardens Trust