These 10 acre walled gardens (listed Grade II*) are a rare example of formal English garden design.
They are being restored* as near as possible to the period 1680 to 1762 when the Bridgeman family moved to Weston Park. The house was built in 1599 by Sir Edward Devereux and extended by Sir John Bridgeman I about 100 years later.
The Gardens were developed by several generations of the Bridgeman Family (later to become the Earls of Bradford) reaching peaks of excellence around 1760 and 1900. The Gardens fell into decline during the middle part of the twentieth century until they were rescued by the Trust in 1985.
The Holly Maze is a distorted mirror image of the one at Hampton Court Palace designed by George London and Henry Wise.
* The Restoration is now almost complete.
The Volunteers and Staff
Looking after the Gardens, running the cafe and shop, putting on the events, marketing, tour guiding, governing and all the other things that are needed to keep a Charitable business going, is largely carried out by volunteers.
The Earl of Bradford ~ a Founder member Trustee
Cllr. Pauline S Allen ~ Appointed by Castle Bromwich Parish Council, member of the Management Committee
William A. Esslemont ~ Co-opted by the Trustees and a member of the Management & Gardens Committees
Vacant ~ National Trust Appointee
Marian E. Morris ~ Elected by members of the Trust and a member of the Management & Gardens Committees
Cllr George E. Richards ~ Appointed by Solihull MBC
Cllr Joe Tildesley ~ Appointed by Solihull MBC
Vacant Appointed by St. Mary & St. Margaret’s Church
Karen Westwood ~ Elected by members of the Trust
Cllr. Diane Donaldson ~ Appointed by Birmingham City Council
Vacant ~ Appointed by Birmingham City Council
Simon Carter – director of Avoncroft Museum, co-opted by the Trustees
Helen Johnson – Staffordshire Heritage Service, Co-opted
Bob Mountford – Astute Media, Co-opted
Advolly Richmond – Garden Historian and writer, co-opted
Mahendra Dhabi – Hon treasurer, co-opted
Ian Bush – Entrepreneur, Accountant , engineer, co-opted
The Trust’s Paid Staff
Glynis Powell ~ General Manager
Sue Brain ~ Office and volunteer manager
Denise Seckham ~ Head Gardener
Tanya Upton – Assistant Gardener
John Mostyn – Business Development Manager (funded project post)
Tara Higgs – Parkland Project Manager (funded project)
Ann Brookman – Parkland ranger (funded project)
The Gardens were re-discovered in 1983 by West Midlands County Council planning inspectors. As soon as their importance was realized it was decided that restoration was essential and work started to clear the undergrowth and repair the vandal damage to the infrastructure.
A Trust was formed in 1985 by the West Midlands County Council, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, Birmingham City Council, Castle Bromwich Parish Council, Castle Bromwich Parochial Church Council, Bovis Homes Ltd, The National Trust and Lord Bradford. For many years these were the only members of the Trust. These members appointed Trustees who in turn co-opted other Trustees for the skills the Trust needed.
Lord Bradford gifted 7.44 acres of the gardens to the west of the Middle Terrace walk together with the entrance drive and car park. All the estate to the east of the Middle Terrace was already in the ownership of Bovis Homes who allowed the Trust access under licence to some 1.84 acres of the gardens which lie between the Hall and the Middle Terrace.
The 38 acres (12.34 hectares) of Parkland lying to the north and west of the Gardens was purchased by Birmingham City Council. Part of this is a site of special interest and known as the Castle Bromwich Wetland. Currently this area, although protected, is managed minimally by the Council. Nevertheless, Habitat Biodiversity Audits have been undertaken (2013) and we work actively with other groups, including Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, to support Hedgehog and other surveys in the area. The combination of cultivated and less cultivated areas in close proximity make this area a real haven for all kinds of wildlife.
It is the Trust’s policy to restore the gardens as near as possible to the period 1680 – 1740* (see below) and distinguish between restoration and recreation. The Trust attempts to only use plants that were available to the gardeners of England by 1740*. Henry Beighton’s South Prospect of the Hall and Gardens, drawn in 1726, forms an important reference.
The Trust has finished most of the restoration work in the gardens in its ownership and now also works with the owners of the other parts of the walled garden to ensure a continuity of plantation. Over time, as the Hall’s ownership and economic fortunes of some of the founding Trustees changed, the Trust in 2008 voted to extend the Trust to open membership to members. Today any Adult can become become a member of the Gardens and the Trust.
For more details about Trust membership see the next tab.
*To meet the objectives of the Trust, the Gardens have been restored on the basis of archival evidence and contemporary practice, as near as possible to the period 1680-1762, but with some later additions.
Wherever possible the Trust will only use plants that were available to the gardeners of England by 1762 and with a emphasis on species known to have been grown in the gardens at Castle Bromwich Hall.
The Annual General Meeting of the Gardens Trust was held virtually on Zoom this year (2020). You can download a .pdf here 2019 accounts Castle Bromwich Hall and Gardens Trust (signed)
minutes of the meeting can be found here : Minutes AGM 2020
Our visitors use the Gardens in a myriad of ways.
To walk the dog, have a moment of calm, have a picnic under the blossoms with friends, to get close up to tadpoles, build a den or watch the flowers grow.
We are an independent Charitable Trust and love to keep the prices low, so we can share the gardens with as many people as possible.
By becoming a Member, you get repeated access to the Gardens at a bargain price and you are helping the Trust to care for these important and wonderful Gardens. Memberships, and donations, all contribute directly to the provision of equipment, plants, events and amenities for the Gardens and visitors. It all helps us to invest in the future.
To see this years fees and lovely benefits Click here
The Gardens provide – and are dependent on – over 11,000 hours of volunteer time.
Our beautiful 400 year old historic gardens have reopened, and we are now looking for people to support for our refreshed visitor offer. Over the winter we will be looking for a small number of volunteers to join the front of house and visitor welcome teams.
Do you enjoy meeting people and are confident, happy, friendly and outgoing? Do you have a day to spare to help this charity provide the best welcome to visitors and support us all to ‘bounce back’. you will be helping the charity grow and will accumulate a range of visitor experience, retail and front of house skills.
You will need to commit to some training and either a regular day or flexible over the summer for 5 days or more.
Later in the season there may be other volunteering opportunities available.
If you have skills in outdoor activities leadership, marketing , financial, administrative or DIY skills we’d love to hear from you too.
Please fill in the initial expression of interest form here – we’ll be in touch or ring us for a chat 0121 749 4100. Thank you
(Here is the link to the same form https://forms.gle/4vyQBMCfPmNS2pVe6 – copy and paste into your browser)