Naturally, the walled garden is a highlight of The Belmont Estate. Its historical presence and beauty are stand out features. For the last 4 years we have been carefully restoring this beautiful area, finally, it is all coming together.
The Walled Garden – May 2019 (Present)
The elliptical walled garden, first recorded on the Tithe map in the 1830’s, is situated at the heart of the estate. Its purpose resonates with the overall ethos of Belmont, as the home of shared experiences and enjoyment. The garden is southwest facing with views across the Vale of Bourton and out to the Bristol channel. The inspiring space was first created as a place to grow fruits and vegetables for the estate kitchens. The natural heat of the sun on the stone was relied upon to ripen fruit growing up the rubble stone walls of the garden.
The walled garden was once a neglected part of the estate. It was in desperate need of some love to give it a new lease of life. Renowned landscape architect Bunny Guinness redesigned the garden to give it a new purpose for the 21st Century.
Upon our arrival it was suffocated by weeds, so our pigs lived in the garden to prepare the ground for the next stage of renovation.
The first phase of the garden’s transformation involved removing a thousand tonnes of earth. Then long lengths of Corten steel were brought in to create the steps of an amphitheatre. These were set into the slope and the thousand tonnes of earth brought back into the garden to fill the voids, completing the structural phase of the amphitheatre.
At the base of the walled garden, a kitchen garden was reinstated. Within the kitchen garden, bespoke oak framed raised beds were designed, manufactured and installed by a local company specialising in natural and sustainable materials. Oak was chosen for its long-lasting properties as well as its visual appeal, weathering to a subtle silver hue over time and blending into the surrounding area sympathetically.
The original stone wall surrounding the garden required a great deal of restoration work. Years of neglect had led to unwelcome vegetation inhabiting the wall, breaking open cracks in the render and allowing water to seep in. Paired with an accumulation of past mismatched repairs, the renovation was long overdue. Working with historic building and repair specialists, the walls are being painstakingly repointed and the 120 metre length of coping stones rebedded with lime mortar. The walls will soon be structurally sound allowing the garden to be enjoyed once more.
This year, we have begun planting the beds with hundreds of vegetables that we will harvest for use in our newly restored Carriage House. We have a specialised irrigation system to ensure our plants remain healthy, and two wonderful gardeners who lovingly care for each and every plant we grow.
The grass stepped amphitheatre has given the garden a new life creating the epicentre of our entertainment offering. With plans to host music and theatre events, and collaborations in the pipeline with key industry tastemakers, we hope to place ourselves firmly on the map within Bristol’s thriving arts scene.