Westbury Court Garden
Westbury Court Garden, Westbury-on-Severn, Gloucestershire,
Westbury is England's most complete formal Dutch water
garden. It was laid out between 1696 and 1705 at the time of King William
and Queen Mary who had obvious Dutch connections. It was also one of
the few such gardens to survive the purges of Lancelot "Capability"
Brown and his Landscape Movement.
View of the canal and the Pavilion
The gardens came into the hands of the National Trust
in 1967 and work started on the restoration in 1971. I have to say I
visited the garden recently (2009) after a lapse of about ten years
and this is certainly the period of time which you need to revisit restored
topiary gardens. The difference between the maturity was remarkable
and it is now easy to get the full picture of how it would have looked
in its heyday.
Straight canals with topiary specimens growing through the yew
The canals have large fish in them which can entertain
the children but keep them away from the edges as the water is deep
and the stone edges are crumbling in places! Some of the yew trees are
unfortunately suffering from disease and have had to be replaced.
Yew specimens now growing with military precision
Don't expect to visit Westbury Court the house as
there isn't one. The Elizabethan Manor house was demolished in the 1740's
when a Palladian mansion was built in its place. This in turn was knocked
down in the nineteenth century to build a country House. This was sited
roughly where the old people's home is situated now to give some idea
of scale. It is a tribute to the English spirit that the gardens were
saved at a time when there was a fashion for all these modern developments.
All of the planting in the Water gardens is from plants
which had been introduced into Great Britain before 1700. There is also
a vegetable garden with old varities of plants grown there in one of
View of formal parterres with historical planting
All photographs by Anthony Blagg.
the National Trust Website
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