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Eleanor

Yorkshire Brodsworth Hall Gardens, Nr Doncaster, South Yorkshire

Brodsworth Hall was built in the mid C19th for the fabulously wealthy Thellusson family, who made their money from banking. The grounds were laid out to complement the Italianate house. The magnificent cedar of Lebanon tree in the front lawn as you approach the house dates from then.

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When the last owner, Sylvia Grant-Dalton, died in 1988, the house was in a very poor condition and the gardens were completely overgrown. When English Heritage took over the property, they began a complete restoration of the gardens back to what they may have looked like in their heyday, using plants from that time.

Wildflowers such as cowslips, orchids and wild thyme were well established in the lawns and although not originally in the Victorian design, have been allowed to survive in the lawn in front of the house.

Much of the garden is grass with specimen trees and Italian statuary, including urns and pots with carefully clipped hedges.

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The evergreen shrubberies have been reinstated, with evergreens in a wide variety of different shades of green and gold. There are Portuguese and Japanese laurels, yew, box, Viburnum, bay and holly, all carefully clipped.

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A formal flower garden has been planted out at the back of the house, with a croquet lawn. At the centre is the three tiered Dolphin Fountain. The geometric flower beds are planted out with spring bulbs which is later replaced with summer bedding. Each has a carefully clipped evergreen to add height and interest.

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Beyond the formal gardens, a rock garden and fernery has been established in the quarry garden. Over a hundred different types of fern grow here, including tree ferns. This is a lovely place to explore with paths running on different levels and a bridge over the miniature canyon. One of the best views is from the Doric Temple built upon a man made mound.

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Through the tunnel is the Target Range, a long grassy area, which was used for archery. This was a highly fashionable sport in the C19th, especially for young ladies.

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At the end is the target house which was used for storing equipment but now has an exhibition about the garden.

Beyond is the rose garden with a 45m long pergola draped with scented climbing roses. On either side are small box-edged rose beds. On one side is a herbaceous border with mid to late flowering plants available to Victorian gardeners.

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Beyond this is the children’s play area and an expanse of grass, trees and shrubs leading back to the house and past the small heather covered building used to hang game.

Brodsworth is a short distance off the M1 from junction 37. The house is well worth visiting as well as the gardens. Plan a visit for a summer Sundays there are brass band concerts in the grounds.

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