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Open 2 Feb-28 Feb 10.30am-4pm, 1 Mar-31 Oct 10.30am-5pm, 1 Nov-23 Dec 10.30am-4pm. Open from 9am at weekends & Bank Holidays.
West Dean Nr Chichester PO18 0RX
6 miles north of Chichester on A286.
92 acres (37ha)
Tel 01243 818210
£5.75 (winter), £9 (summer). Please see website for more information.
Free access applies 2 Feb-30 April, 1 Sep-23 Dec.
About the garden
Edward James Foundation Ltd
Nestled at the foot of the South Downs near Chichester, West Dean Gardens is one of the greatest restored gardens open to the public today. Head Gardeners, Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain have dedicated the past 26 years to transforming the derelict 92-acre site into award-winning gardens. The gardens are internationally respected for both the quality and variety of horticultural practice.
Inspired by the BBC’s Victorian Kitchen Garden (1987) Jim and Sarah set out to restore the kitchen garden to a semblance of its earlier glory, including restoration of 13 Victorian glasshouses designed by Foster & Pearson between 1895 and 1901. These are some of the few working glasshouses in the UK and visitors can see a huge variety of plants – from aubergines to orchids and peaches to peppers. "The glasshouses at West Dean are an inspirational model of how best to use any greenhouse. They are a treasure for all gardeners." Monty Don. Outdoors are orderly rows of cabbage, carrots, leeks, lettuce and beetroot, alongside herbaceous borders in rich reds, oranges and yellows. The kitchen garden has over one mile of walls covered in trained espalier fruit trees.
Beyond the walled garden the 35-acre ornamental grounds, where more than 500,000 spring bulbs have been naturalised, act as a foil to the many heritage features. These include a 300-foot Edwardian Pergola designed by Harold Peto, award-winning Sunken Garden; a fruit garden with 100 apple varieties and a Spring and Woodland Garden with flint bridges and an 1820s rustic thatched summerhouse with a moss and heather-lined interior and a floor of knapped flints and horses' molars.
The 49-acre St. Roche’s Arboretum is home to an extensive tree collection including Californian Redwoods planted in 1992 and already 30 feet high. The arboretum offers a circular 2.5 mile walk with stunning panoramic views of the South Downs. Dogs on short leads are welcome.
Plants of special interest
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