Lady Heald (1904-2004), huge supporter and former Chairman of the NGS and resident at Chilworth Manor for more than 40 years used to preside over her open garden days when the genteel Surrey manor opened its garden gates to the public.
Happily, the new owners of this gorgeous slice of England are following suit and Chilworth Manor garden, now refreshed and invigorated, welcomes visitors under the NGS open gardens scheme.
Approached via a sweeping drive, imposing stone gateposts mark the entrance to this property which has been used as a film location on numerous occasions.
The garden falls away to the side of the house where natural streams have been incorporated into a Japanese style garden, using existing rhododendrons and azaleas. Attractive stepping stones and bridges lead the visitor around towards a woodland walk with carefully chosen sculptures punctuating the planting.
The garden continues beside the wisteria-clad house where a David Harber sculpture stands at the end of a pleached beech avenue beside the garden wall. A small arched gateway leads through to the walled garden, terraced and neat with box parterre and stone steps decending towards the house. Peonies, wisteria and roses contribute to the traditional planting and it is on one of the upper terraces that an army of volunteers serve teas to the hoarding masses, raising money for the local church.
Chilworth Manor is a gem of a garden and the sort one hopes to find on an NGS open day. Highly recommended.