Walled Garden doors set to open to public

By Nigel Slater Monday 18 August 2014 Updated: 19/08 11:31

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Buy photos » Chris and Karen Cronin are welcoming in people to see their owned historic Walled Garden for the first time after years of hard work. (s)

ONE OF Europe's biggest 'secret' gardens is set to open its doors for the first time over the Bank Holiday weekend.

For the first time in decades residents will be able to see the historic walled garden which is part of Croome Court's famous landscape near Pershore and owned by husband and wife Chris and Karen Cronin who rescued the site from ruin nearly 15 years ago.

Firstly owned by the Coventry family in the late 16th century, the garden started to blossom in the late 17th Century when wife of the 2nd Earl, Anne Somerset of the Beaufort family took up a desire for gardening and plants.

Over the decades the shape of the gardens transformed from a traditional square to a unique rhomboid shape revealing over seven acres of land before more recently falling into a dilapidated state.

But Chris and Karen have self-funded the garden's dramatic rescue from dereliction to delight after restoring many buildings and large greenhouses with great care an attention as well as adding new features fit for the modern era - including a picturesque rose garden.

However the restoration project has now come to a crossroads as to do more work and restore more features of the seven acre land - they need to acquire more funding sources and are hoping the public can help them out.

And that process begins next weekend when the garden will be the venue to a number of visitors on Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday (August 23,24 and 25) for a fun activity day.

Family fun activities over the weekend include face painting, a special drawing area, a storytelling corner, games and a fact-finders trail.

"To finally open the walled garden to the public is a huge milestone and the whole family is really excited by the prospect," Chris said.

"After buying it we both saw a massive potential for the place even though it was overgrown and completely uninhabitable.

"The walled garden has always been hidden behind closed doors due to its secluded setting, even though it's right next to Croome Court. There's always a secret to it.

"But after years of hard work we are now ready to open the gardens to visitors over the Bank Holiday weekend and we're looking forward to finally welcoming people inside."

Tickets to the walled garden open days, which start from 10.30am to 5pm, will cost £5 for adults and £2.50 for children. For more information call 01905 371090.

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Buy photos» The Rose Garden which is one of the walled garden's newest features - recently created by Chris and Karen. (s)

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Buy photos» The garden's dipping pond which was constructed in 1764. (s)

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