Wakehurst Place Garden & Millennium Seed Bank

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  • West Sussex
  • 01444 894066
  • wakehurst@kew.org
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Ardingly, Haywards Heath, W. Sussex,
West Sussex, RH17 6TN

01444 894066


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Opening Days and Hours
Dates/days/times open:

Please check with garden owners or their website to confirm current dates open
All year except Christmas Eve & Christmas Day; 10am - 6pm, Mar - Oct (closes 4.30pm 1st Nov - end Feb) last admission 4pm. Seed Bank and Mansion close 1 hour before Gardens.
Closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Parties/Coaches: Yes
Group Appointment: Yes
House Open for Viewing: Yes

Partly open

National Garden Scheme days: No
Best Times of Year to Visit:

Year round seasonal interest

To see:
Admission Prices

See website, please

Onsite Facilities
Parking: Yes
Shop: Yes
Teas: Yes
Dogs Allowed: No
Lavatories: Yes
Plants for Sale: Yes
Refreshment: Yes
On Lead only: No
Disabled Access: Yes
Lunches: Yes
Picnics: Yes
Special Events: No
Other Facilities & Comments:

Guided walks (subject to the availability of a guide) 11.30am & 2.00pm every day.

Garden Features & Events
English Heritage/Visit Scotland Garden Grade:
National Collection:

Betulas, Hypericums, Nothofagus, Skimmas.

Nearby Cambridgeshire Hotels, Facilities & Amenities

Hotels & Accommodation:
Inns & Pubs:

Black Horse, Nuthurst

Villages / Towns / Sightseeing:
Description of Garden

These gardens have been managed by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, since 1965 and the collections are in general arranged geographically to create an 80-minute walk through the temperate forests of the world. In addition there are four national collections including Betula, Skimmia, Nothofagus and Hypericum to be seen around the estate. Starting from the house, the visitor first encounters the formal gardens and small lake but then moves on to the Water Gardens, beautifully planted with collections of irises and many other plants, which lead from one to another and thence into the woodland areas. Spectacular in late spring/early summer, the vast banks of rhododendrons and azaleas on either side of the wooded valley have to be seen to be believed.

Further on is the Loder Valley Nature Reserve, admission is by permit only obtained on the day of visit at the Visitor Centre main entrance. The casual visitor is able to skirt the reserve and see the reed swamp and willows with perhaps a glimpse of a kingfisher or two. Returning past Westwood Lake through Horsebridge Wood, with its acers and liquidambar, superb in Autumn, the visitor passes groves of Douglas Fir and Wellingtonias and comes across some remarkable exposed tree roots cascading over sandrocks. There are extensive lawns, a walled garden and herbaceous borders. A visit will be richly rewarded at any time of the year, even when the Winter Garden is in full colour and other gardens are closed.

The Wellcome Trust Millennium Building (Millennium Seed Bank), opened in 2000, currently holds the largest and most diverse collection of wild species in the world, including 90 of the UK flora. With focus on the drylands, the target is to collect and conserve 25 of the world's flora by 2020. The international seed collecting is undertaken by international collaboration. The species targeted include species at risk in the wild, and species of most use to man. By storing at least 10 of the world's flora under optimal conditions, the Millennium Seed Bank and its partner banks acts as a substantial genetic asset for research, insuring humanity against the loss of these species.

History Of Garden

Edward Culpeper rebuilt the house on an old site in 1590. This date is commemorated on the door now at the Chapel entrance to the house and Edward Culpeper's initials can still be seen above the old South Entrance.

In 1694, the estate was purchased from the last surviving member of the Culpeper family by Dennis Lydell, Commissioner of the Navy and a friend of Samuel Pepys. Over the next 175 years the house had various owners and tenants, and many changes were made to its architecture.

In 1869 Lady Downshire purchased the house and she also carried out extensive alterations. Subsequently, the estate was owned by Thomas Boord M.P. who renovated and restored much of the house. In 1903, Gerald Loder bought Wakehurst Place and began the development of the gardens, introducing many fine trees and shrubs. Sir Henry Price purchased the estate in 1938 and, over the next 25 years, restored the roof and decaying stonework as well as developing the gardens further. On his death in 1963, the estate was bequeathed to the National Trust who leased it to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in 1965. The great storm of 1987 tore through the plantations at Wakehurst, uprooting 20,000 trees, this led to a massive replanting programme which has created new vistas.

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