About the garden
New for 2022: The Newt in Somerset is a working country estate between the towns of Bruton and Castle Cary. Set amid farmland, woodland, orchards and lakes, is the original Georgian manor house, stable yard and farm buildings, as well as acres of formal gardens with a renowned horticultural history.
Over the centuries, the gardens have been shaped and beloved by enthusiastic members of the Hobhouse family; namely Margaret Hobhouse, who elevated them to a Victorian ideal, introducing colour, building a greenhouse and planting beech, oak, pine, walnut and cedar. Esteemed garden designer Penelope Hobhouse revived Margaret’s vision in the 1970s, followed by experimenters of colour Nori and Sandra Pope, who first opened them to the public in the mid-1980s.
The latest incarnation was created by Italo-French architect Patrice Taravella, who also designed the edible gardens of Babylonstoren in South Africa, strongly believing that a garden should be both beautiful and useful. Influenced by thousands of years of horticultural history, mixing ornamental and productive elements, our gardens are a feast for the eyes and stomach. A place to be inspired and uplifted by the endless possibilities of a garden, from a Victorian Glasshouse to modern Colour Gardens. At their core sits a walled Parabola concealing a Baroque-inspired apple tree maze; at their borders, ancient woodland provide a diverse habitat for native wildlife.
Inspired by Somerset heritage, sustainable agriculture and artisan production, the estate is now open as a luxury hotel and garden attraction, including restaurants, farm shops, a cyder press and cellar, and immersive exhibitions including The Story of Gardening and Beezantium. We encourage a ‘patchwork quilt’ of land and livestock to improve biodiversity from the ground up, returning composted waste to the soil to increase its fertility for the next growing season. We care for the land that feeds us.