Garden Restoration Plans for Holme Pierrepont Hall

There’s nothing more cheerful than turning up at a favourite garden to find everyone happy and smiling. This week I visited Holme Pierrepont Hall to find the owners and gardeners busy with renovation plans. Funds from a Heritage Lottery grant and the Country Houses Foundation means work can start on restoring garden walls which date back to the 16th century.

The funding will also enable research into the site’s history. During my tour of the gardens, I learned the topiary courtyard once housed aviaries for tropical birds, and a monkey house in the centre. I can’t wait to see what else is revealed when historical documents are studied by experts.

Built in 1500, the hall is thought to be the oldest brick building in Nottinghamshire and is still lived in by descendants of the Pierrepont family. Three generations of the family live here now, Robin and Elizabeth, Robert and Charlotte and their children Oliver and Cicely. Elizabeth, whose great grandmother was Lady Mary Pierrepont, moved here in 1969 and undertook some major restoration work in the house and garden. Today, the new conservation work is being led by Robert and Charlotte. And their enthusiasm is catching. It’s easy to get caught up in the optimistic atmosphere at Holme Pierrepont. They love their home, and genuinely enjoy sharing it with visitors. It’s heartening to hear plans to open on more days in the future. Currently the house and garden opens Sunday to Wednesday, February and March, and Sundays in April, 2-5pm. (Closed Easter Sunday). New for this year, there’s additional garden open days in May and June. Dates and times are on the website http://www.holmepierreponthall.com

As well as the courtyard, the hall is famous for its Spring Walk, featuring daphne, hamamelis, rhododendrons and acers, underplanted with hellebores, primula and masses of early bulbs. To help visitors identify the varieties, a guide has been produced and new signs installed in the garden.

Scent is important in the garden and mature hamamelis and daphnes are fabulous at this time of the year. This one is Daphne Jacqueline Postill.

There are several Hamamelis planted alongside the pathways. Hamamelis mollis, Diana and Westerstede, (pictured below) among them. It’s good to have a guidebook and new signs to be able to identify them correctly.

Snowdrops, these pictured below, are Galanthus Sam Arnott, are looking spectacular at the moment in the spring garden, and also in the Woodland Walk.

New signs direct you through the old walled orchard and on to the woodland where there’s also large drifts of wild Tulipa Sylvestris. These have been growing in the grounds since the 17th century. They were apparently first planted in the main garden, and then seemingly “thrown out” in to the woodland – where they’ve thrived.

It’s a peaceful walk, amongst the Jacob sheep, now occupying the walled orchard. There’s a possibility in the future these kitchen gardens might be restored.

The old walls curve around the orchard at the back of the hall. So many layers of history in those beautiful red bricks. I’d love to know what the research reveals about them.

There’s a circular walk around the woods, which were opened up to visitors in 2011. You’ll find evidence the family’s young children enjoy this space. There’s various dens and piles of sticks and vegetation made into bug hotels and wildlife habitats.

It’s inspiring to meet the gardeners and volunteers ( pictured below) and all the other experts working on the restoration project. Their enthusiasm and obvious love for this special place is evident. I was pleased to hear students from Brooksby College will be involved in the scheme, and will be learning conservation brickwork skills. I’m in favour of passing traditional skills on to young people. And opportunities like this are all too scarce today.

Until 29th April, visitors can view an art exhibition at the hall, made possible by the new funding. There are paintings by the last Countess Manvers, Marie-Louise Pierrepont, and also a relative, Georgina Brackenbury. Georgina, a militant suffragette, is renowned for her painting of Emmeline Pankhurst which hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, London. You can learn more about the exhibition at http://www.holmepierreponthall.com/georgina-brackenbury/.

Many thanks to Robert and Charlotte for inviting me to visit the hall and for taking the time to explain the plans. It’s an exciting time ahead and I wish them all the very best with their conservation project, preserving the garden for future generations- and visitors as well.

Contact details: http://www.holmepierreponthall.com e.mail: rplb@holmpierreponthall.com Tell: 0115 9332371

21 thoughts on “Garden Restoration Plans for Holme Pierrepont Hall

  1. What a nice visit you had (and the snowdrops look perfect!). I never really considered that many of the old estates and historical buildings are actually beloved homes and only open for a few days each year.

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    • Thank you. It’s a beautiful place, and the family are genuinely lovely people. I hope they get lots of new visitors this year. Everyone who visits says it’s like a secret garden. It’s got that special “something.” Thanks again for reading. Karen

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    • Thank you Mike. Luckily it’s only 30 minutes from where I live, so I’ll be popping over there quite a bit to see the renovation work as it progresses. Thank goodness they managed to get a grant. Thanks for reading and for getting in touch. Have a lovely day. Karen xx

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  2. Karen Holme Pierrepont Hall is a mansion and magnificent gardens. Know that since its construction in 1500 has been inhabited and that now its owner is the 19th generation of the descendants of Pierrepont, Robert and Charlotte Brackenburry is wonderful. The walls of the 16th century red brick garden presage a very beautiful garden. The guide is very good to identify plants and trees and not get lost! The snowy topiary is very beautiful, but in the link that you have left from the mansion there are pictures of the garden in spring and it is wonderful. Historical documents bring unexpected surprises. Instead of topiary tropical birds and monkeys! Your Karen photos are magnificent. Daphne Jacqueline Postil I love it in the middle of a Galanthus rug Sam Arnott. The Hamamelis Westerstede is full of yellow flowers: wonderful. The old walled garden now has Jacob’s sheep: what a beautiful and peaceful walk it must be. The red brick walls, what stories will they tell? The walk through the forest should be fantastic, and more having hotels of insects and wildlife habitats. It is wonderful that volunteers work in the restoration of the mansion and the gardens. I’m glad that the owners welcomed you very well and were very kind to you. Thank you Karen for this beautiful visit, it’s as if I had done it with you. Memories for your Mother with affection. Karen for you all my affection and joy because you have found strength for this visit. You are completely healed! Take care. Affectionate greetings from Margarita.

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    • Thank you Margarita. It is just as if you are walking alongside me! Thanks so much for your lovely summary. It is indeed a beautiful and peaceful place. Full of enthusiastic volunteers and workers. It was a very happy visit for me. Thanks again for reading and getting in touch. Exciting times ahead. Have a wonderful weekend. Love and greetings to you and your family. Love karen xx

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  3. It must be wonderful, as you mention, to be involved in a restoration like that. It partly saddens me how many of these wonderful houses and gardens were, for different reasons, either demolished or neglected. Then I am heartened to see so many now being restored with help from the various funds.

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    • Thank you Brian. Everyone’s delighted. There’s such an air of optimism there at the moment. Like you say, it’s sad wonderful historic houses and gardens fell into ruin in the past. I always think of Easton Walled Gardens where the mansion house was demolished after the war. Only the gatehouse remains because the bulldozer broke down. Thanks for reading. Much appreciated.karen

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    • Thank you Dorris. The scent from that daphne was amazing. I’ve never seen one as happy and established either. It is a fabulous place. So pleased they have won the grant to do some conservation work. Thanks for reading. Karen

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