From a wilderness to a delight - Couple transforms Baumber walled garden

A husband and wife duo have opened the area's latest tourist attraction after transforming a building site into a wonderful walled garden in the space of just two years.
Sonia and David Elton is the walled garden at Baumber EMN-170526-162853001Sonia and David Elton is the walled garden at Baumber EMN-170526-162853001
Sonia and David Elton is the walled garden at Baumber EMN-170526-162853001

In its prime, the 19th century garden was part of the former Stourton Hall near Baumber.

It is a rare example of a double walled garden and covers almost four acres.

The once magnificent hall was demolished in the 1950s.

The gardens were abandoned and quickly became an overgrown wilderness.

But David and Sonia Elton moved into the former head gardener’s cottage.

After renovating the cottage, they started the daunting task of rebuilding the gardens.

Restoration of the walls and buildings began in 2006 and actual planting started in 2013.

Amazingly, Sonia admits the couple struggled to distinguish between a daffodil and a delphinium!

But thanks to what they describe as a labour of love, they have handed a new lease of life to the entire site.

The walls have been re-built and the garden features a series of non-traditional areas including, grasses, palms and the newly designed Tropical House.

And a huge man-made lake – featuring surely the area’s only natural swimming pool – is an obvious highlight.

Sonia admitted: “When we first drove through the gates, I don’t think we realised exactly how much work needed doing.

“But there was something magical about the place. Now, we want to share that magic with other people.

“It would have been selfish to keep it to ourselves – tempting as it is.”

The old potting shed has been transformed into a cafe with outdoor seating looking out over the gardens.

David, a photographer, has surprised himself by turning his hand to baking cakes, while Sonia – and a “team” of helpers – has focused more on the actual garden.

She explained; “It is not a traditional garden because we don’t have the budget or the knowledge. However, it’s our dream; our vision.

“Sometimes, we look at it at the end of the day and think...we’ve done this.

“It is still work in progress. We’d love to stage weddings.

“The potential is limitless.”

The gardens open on Thursday and Friday afternoons, with free admission, and are signposted off the A158. They will also be open on Sundays through the school summer holiday.

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