Volunteering at Wollaton Hall: Walled Garden Restoration project

Wollaton Hall is an Elizabethan mansion situated on a natural hill three miles west of Nottingham City Centre. It is set in five hundred acres of spectacular gardens and parkland.

Wollaton Hall was built by Sir Francis Willoughby Between 1580 and 1588; the Walled Kitchen Garden which was added between 1783 and 1788 was designed to provide all the flowers, fruit and vegetables required by the family, their servants and guests at the Hall.  The idea of a walled garden was to shelter plants from wind and frost with the walls creating a microclimate, by radiating the sun’s heat, which can raise the ambient temperature. 

In 1924 the 11th Lord Middleton sold the Hall and the Park to the City Council. For some years, the walled garden remained in use as a nursery garden until the 1980s when it was abandoned.

At some point the great glasshouses and the conservatory either fell down or were demolished. Only the home farm (now Mr Man’s restaurant), the walled garden, some derelict potting sheds and the Head Gardener’s cottage survive. Sections of the walls have collapsed with some sections gone completely.The glasshouse is now just the brick base, which has been converted into offices, and the gardener’s outdoor loo remain!

The Walled Garden was made a Grade II listed building in 1989 and we are now working to restore this area.

Stage 1 is to repair the walls and outer area so that the space is safe to be used again. The cost of this stage is estimated at £20,000. The current priority is to find strategies to stabilise the walls and prevent further deterioration.

Stage 2 would be complete restoration if funding can be sourced and is likely to cost millions of pounds. It will need to result in the walled garden becoming financially self-funding and sustainable, whilst remaining suitable for the Park and area. 

Getting involved

Current main activities

Helping us stabilise the walls and prevent further deterioration of the area

  • Clearing the area of vegetation
  • Collecting all historical material- bricks, tiles, timber work, architectural features
  • Brick reclamation
  • Clearing paths to improve public access

Skills and Experience:

  • Ability to work in a team and take guidance from staff
  • Enthusiasm for gardens and heritage
  • Physically fit to work in gardens with uneven ground and often-heavy vegetation.

When

The group meet every Thursday 9.30am by the 508 café at Wollaton Park. We tend to garden until around 12noon.

Benefits in volunteering with us

  • Volunteering can help increase your confidence, provide social interaction and vital skills to help you into or back into employment if you wish
  • See an area the public do not get to see!
  • Free tea and coffee whilst on site

How to get involved

No need to complete an application form – just turn up at the stated time and get stuck in! Guidance will be given by our Park Ranger. Please wear weather appropriate clothing and sturdy closed toe footwear.

For more information

Tel: 0115 8763100

Email: volunteer.programme@nottinghamcity.gov.uk

Website: https://www.wollatonhall.org.uk/

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