Wednesday, 17 August 2022
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Wednesday, 17 August 2022

An introduction to the work of the Helmsley Walled Garden charity

Hello to everyone. This is our first blog for Charity Today and I wanted to introduce the garden and tell you a bit about its history and what we do today.

Helmsley Walled Garden sits beneath Helmsley Castle in the North York Moors National Park. Five acres is divided into a patchwork of small, intimate gardens of flowers, fruit and vegetables. Used as one of the locations for the new film version of The Secret Garden, it is full of colour and corners to explore as well as places to sit and relax. The garden is fully accessible and we welcome dogs.

Built in 1758 as the kitchen garden for the stately home Duncombe Park, its heyday was the early 1900s. Once the war was declared, the Earl of Feversham and his estate workers went off to the front and most didn’t come back.

The garden was leased as a market garden until the 1980s when it was left to become derelict. Local woman Alison Ticehurst began restoration in 1994 with the aim of creating a beautiful garden to visit that would also be a therapeutic place working to change lives through horticulture. 

At its inception, Helmsley Walled Garden was in essence a garden for its community. Alison Ticehurst was ahead of her time in her thinking and today community gardens benefit many individuals all over the UK. 

That ethos still remains at Helmsley and the garden aims to engage its local community in gardening for their health and wellbeing.

Not only do our volunteers benefit from their involvement, but our visitors can also enjoy the peace and tranquillity this beautiful space holds for all.

Walled gardens are particularly comforting – we feel safely enclosed but can enjoy the feeling of space around us from the borrowed landscape of Duncombe Park. 

Managed by volunteers, Helmsley has a relaxed and gentle atmosphere and a stroll around the garden gives a sense of the rhythm and ebb and flow of nature. Helmsley Castle sits watching over the garden, giving a feeling of stability and resilience and visitors can enjoy a sense of local history wandering through our heritage Yorkshire apple collection.

The design of the garden itself, and our plans for the future, are all about the therapeutic benefits of green space, considering how we can better inform our visitors, enable their relaxed enjoyment of the garden, show examples of different types of planting they can try in their own gardens, protect our natural environment through sustainable gardening and preserve the feeling that Helmsley Walled Garden has evolved for and with the individuals that have cared for and supported it over the years.

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