About the garden
There is an inscription on a stone staircase in the garden that reads, “If you help towards Englefield garden either in flowers or invention you shall be welcome thither”. This was written in a letter to a friend by Sir Edward Norris in 1601 and shows that a garden at Englefield was being planned and cared for 400 years ago. In 1860 major work was recorded when stone balustrades and staircases were built by Italian craftsmen in the time of Richard Benyon, farmer, philanthropist and MP for Reading.
A large conservatory stood on the wide upper terrace from 1860 until it was removed in 1930. In 1936, the woodland garden on the hill above was created by thinning the existing forest trees. Sir Henry and Lady Benyon commissioned Wallace & Barr of Tunbridge Wells to design and plant this area and the stream was constructed at the same time.
Much early planting is still in place and includes varieties of rhododendron, azalea, camellia, magnolia, witch hazel, Parrotia, dogwood, Davidia and Acer. The lower terrace was redesigned in 1974 from a formal rose garden surrounded by wide gravel paths with the help of Lanning Roper. The fountain and rill were added in the 1990s. Recent features include the ivy house at the top of the garden, the grotto with its fir cone-studded interior, the bear, the round pebble garden, and the yellow and blue garden enclosed in clipped yew.
Near the entrance gate are the children's garden with surprise fountains, slides and swings, the sundial arbour and the magnolia plantation bordering the car park.