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EUROPEAN GARDEN HERITAGE NETWORK – EGHN

Ramster Gardens

The gardens at Ramster lie south of Chiddingfold, a village in the southwest corner of Surrey near the border with West Sussex. The famous woodland gardens at Ramster cover 8ha and were laid out in the early years of the 20th century by Gauntlett Nurseries, of Chiddingfold. Now a mature flowering shrub garden, it is full of unusual and interesting plants, which have flourished under the canopy of oaks and larches.

In early spring, sheets of daffodils cover the ground and camellias and magnolias, with gentle, subtle colouring take the centre stage. In May the brilliant display of rhododendrons and azaleas is at its best, while a carpet of bluebells fills the air with scent and the ever-changing colours of the garden are reflected in the pond. A wander along the grass paths, which wend their way through the glades, provides something for everyone.

The house, which is based on a Jacobean farmhouse, is not open to the public, but the Long Hall, which is attached to the house, is a very popular venue for wedding receptions and dinners. Garden lovers of all types, experts to keen amateurs, or those just seeking peace and beauty will all find something to please them.

The famous woodland gardens at Ramster cover 8ha and were laid out in the early years of the 20th century by Gauntlett Nurseries, of Chiddingfold. The property, originally known as Ramsnest, was bought by Sir Harry Waechter in 1900. He began to create a gentleman’s estate from what had been a farmhouse and associated farmland. A 17ha garden was created from 1907 by the firm of V.M.Gauntlett & Co of Chiddingfold, whose nursery was situated on estate land at its northern edge adjoining the village, and linked to the garden by means of a footpath. The 1916 OS map shows the site as Japanese Nurseries.


The firm of Gauntlett were famous at this time for producing very detailed catalogues, lavishly illustrated with photographs, some entitled ‘in a Surrey Garden’ were taken at Ramsnest. A ravine still contains Japanese Maples and prayer lanterns, probably imported from the Yokohama Nursery Company, founded in 1890, which seems to have been a conglomerate of small scale nurseries in the Yokohama area. Norman Gauntlett’s Japanese Nursery certainly retailed Yokohama Nursery stock. Around the (man made) lake the Japanese theme continues with bamboo clumps and a Shinto arch.

In 1922 the estate was put on the market, the sales particulars stating:- ‘…… towards the stables are the Japanese Iris Bog garden, the White Garden, herbaceous borders, Rose garden …….Intersected in all directions by delightful woodland walks, these gardens are celebrated for their wonderful and varied collection of Bamboos, Rhododendrons and Azaleas’.


The property was bought by Sir Henry and Lady Norman, she was the daughter of Lord Aberconway of Bodnant (the famous rhododendron garden in North Wales) and a keen gardener in her own right. Trees and shrubs were added to the garden including rhododendrons from Bodnant and other hybrids produced by Lady Norman. The garden was one of the original 600 in the country opened in 1927 in aid of the Garden Scheme (now the National Gardens Scheme Charitable Trust, better known as the Yellow Book). In the 1930s the name of the property was changed from Ramsnest to Ramster.


Because of the nature of the planting within the garden, it is open daily but only between the beginning of April and the end of June and for two weekends in the autumn.

In early spring, sheets of daffodils cover the ground and camellias and magnolias, with gentle, subtle colouring take the centre stage. In May the brilliant display of rhododendrons and azaleas is at its best, while a carpet of bluebells fills the air with scent and the ever-changing colours of the garden are reflected in the pond. A wander along the grass paths, which wend their way through the glades, provides something for everyone.


Garden lovers of all types, experts to keen amateurs, or those just seeking peace and beauty will all find something to please them. As well as the fine rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, magnolias, trees and shrubs there is a maturing bog garden with gunnera and tree ferns. The more recently created Millennium Garden with its dramatic raised beds, in full colour in June, with the waterfall playing makes a charming place in which to sit and rest.

 

Address:
Ramster
Chiddingfold
Surrey GU8 4SN
Tel: 01428 654167
Fax: 01428 658345
E-Mail: office@ramsterhall.com
Web site: www.ramsterevents.com/

Opening times:
Open daily
March – June 10am – 5pm
See website for exact dates and details

Admission prices:
Adults: £7.00 Children under 16: free

Events, exhibitions:
Theatre events, children’s theatre

Customer services:

  • Tea Room / Restaurant: Yes
  • WC: Yes
  • Parking: Yes
  • Seats, benches: Yes