Saturday, 2 July 2011

Watery wonderland in Herefordshire - Westonbury Mill

Westonbury Water Mill Gardens wasn't on my list to visit when in Herefordshire last month, but a huge thunderstorm caused me to stop there en route to Hergest Croft and it turned out to be one of my happiest garden discoveries this year. These gardens are just glorious! Whacky, wonderful and very picturesque, right from the strange dome-roofed Fernery made of wine bottles to the rowing boat on the pond (above). This is a water-loving plantsman's paradise and a garden well worth visiting, even if you're in search of more conventional green spaces!
The garden at Westonbury is filled with water-loving plants
Created by owner Richard Pim, who thinks "a garden needs to be fun as well as beautiful", he's certainly achieved his objectives here in this three-acre garden, which is a fine showcase for water-loving plants. The only other water garden I've seen yet to rival this is Longstock in Wiltshire, which opens so rarely to the public (once a month for selected charities) that it can't be considered a serious contender, because it's so difficult to access.
Richard Pim is a hydrogeologist by profession and has spent much of  his life evaluating water management for other people, so it seems extremely apt that he should have acquired this magical plot on Curl Brook, a tributary of the River Arrow, and created this wonderful water garden for others to enjoy! I didn't have the chance to meet Richard, but he clearly has many original ideas and has put them to work - from folly to foliage - and created a winning garden for visitors to enjoy.
The Fernery, which looks like a bomb shelter from outside,  is made from thousands of empty wine bottles
All the bottle necks face inwards in the Fernery
The Fernery - which has received many accolades in the press and on TV - is created from thousands of empty wine bottles (except for the blue ones, which are sherry bottles) and is a real stroke of recyling genius. Once inside (right) you can see just how the building has been constructed, with all the bottle necks facing inwards. But this is just one of Richard Pim's follies at Westonbury Mill. There's also a castellated tower with gargoyles that spout water! And all of this around a former 19th century water mill. There's also an excellent nursery on site.
Westonbury Mill is open daily from now until the end of September 11.00 - 1700. Easy to combine with Hergest Croft (to be reviewed shortly) and "the other" Hampton Court. Certainly worth taking a detour for if you're in the vicinity!


  1. Lush Green n beautiful water features! Breathtaking pic.

  2. From the outside of the Fernery, I was not expecting the inside to be so beautiful. Love the blue sherry bottles!

  3. I love that you found the canoe. Did you have to go around to get to the fernery? Or is that a bridge in the second picture? -- Bom

  4. I like this guys use of recycled materials. The fernery is an unusual structure, but very interesting in design.