Located on the western edge of Exmoor National Park, this old-fashioned flower garden offers a warm welcome for every type of North Devon visitor. Come and have a delicious home made cream tea after enjoying the romantic surroundings of one of Exmoor’s finest gardens, in the intimate Heddon Valley. We love entertaining special groups, including vintage car clubs, painters, students and even a private tour from Australia, as well as garden clubs and botany enthusiasts.
The garden is a feast of delights for both expert and amateur gardeners. Jane Keatley began her work here 20 years ago, with creative input from garden designers such as Roy Lancaster and Carol Klein. Her daughter Juliet and young family now live here and continue the work with her. The walled garden, laid out by Penelope Hobhouse, has clipped box hedges and cordoned fruit trees as well as flowers, herbs and vegetables. The rose garden is home to some amazing pleeched lime trees, as well as an ancient vine and beautiful herbaceous borders. This leads onto a glorious informal rockery, a bog garden and rhododendron walk, where the River Heddon runs into three renovated stew ponds. All this is set against a backdrop of mature shrubs and trees, a new arboretum and many rare species of fern, magnolia and camellia.
The gardens have been open for the National Garden Scheme for 15 years. However, planting schemes are continually being reworked and new varieties sourced, so that there are fresh attractions each year. The keen horticulturalist will find an interesting selection of plants for sale, more specialist than many retail outlets. We are experimenting with bio-dynamics or ‘moon gardening’: we will be looking at the success of vegetables planted and tended at exactly prescribed times in the moon’s cycle, as compared to conventional planting.
The gardens are on the national footpath and cycle network as well as being on a vintage coach route (summer only) and a regular bus service from Barnstaple. The rail enthusiasts of the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway are well on the way to creating a Heddon Hall Halt, so tourists should soon be able to take a train directly to the gardens.
Gardens in the South West are renowned for their beauty and some of these are celebrated in the Wonderful Gardens of North Devon leaflet, which includes us, as well as RHS Rosemoor and Marwood Hill Gardens.