Belcombe Court

A border at Belcombe Court
Bradford on Avon

I’ve cycled past the big, ornate gate of Belcombe Court several times, and never really given much thought to what might lie beyond it. But the other day I spotted a sign that said that the garden was going to be open for one day only, as part of the Bradford-on-Avon Secret Gardens Festival. It listed the all the delights that visitors would be able to see, including a walled garden designed by Arne Maynard. I knew I had to go.

As we strolled up to the house after visiting some other gardens, we soon noticed that there were a lot of people milling about. Parking had spilled into the field opposite and lots of folk were making their way through the gates. The place must, I realised, must be quite a big deal.


… And it is. The grounds cover 65 acres and are simply stunning. They’re a mix of parkland, sweeping lawns, woodland, wilder areas and garden rooms. It’s got an octagonal pavilion, a tennis court, a grotto and a cloud-pruned hedge (from Arne Maynard’s Chelsea 2000 garden). In fact I can’t think of a garden feature it hasn’t got.

Tiered lawn at Belcombe Court

My favourite part was definitely Arne Maynard’s walled garden. I loved the six tiers of lawn (that lots of kids were happily rolling down), the clipped box and yew, and the ebullient planting in the borders – lots of roses and perennials. I especially liked the cordon apples against the walls, and I’m now convinced that I want a Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ in my own garden.


As we wandered around, I observed that it was a bit odd that the place didn’t have a swimming pool. ‘Nah,’ muttered my boyfriend, ‘There’s definitely a pool.’ And of course there was – an infinity number that the great unwashed could just get a glimpse of, over the hedge. 


By the end of the afternoon, I felt quite inspired by the garden’s awesomeness. My boyfriend, however, felt envious and inadequate. When we got home, we Googled the owner. It turns out he’s a director who has worked on a Mr Bean film and lots of adverts. And Belcombe Court is just his weekend residence! That left me feeling rather envious and inadequate too.

10 thoughts on “Belcombe Court”

  1. Wow! is all I can say! What a place, and only the weekend retreat, too … even the pool area looks right. Outdoor pools in our northern climate can look out of place, but this looks just right.

  2. I was there a couple of weeks before you! Evolution Plants had the Dan Hinkley talk part of their open day there and I was totally blown away by the garden. I also came home and did a bit of light googling and was blown away by that too.

  3. So sorry I missed you when you called – Rowan was over and we had run out of special brew so we popped out to get more and noticed B&Q were selling off their multi coloured pansies cheap. Hopefully you’ll see them next time!!

  4. Hi Veronica, I’m the Head Gardener at Belcombe and am thrilled to hear you enjoyed our open day. It was a tad busy tho so not much opportunity for a peaceful ponder! I love your blog and will be visiting Tanglefoot on my weekend in Cornwall. Thank you Jenny.


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