Search

Beth Chatto’s ‘radical’ garden to be protected by Historic England

PUBLISHED: 00:01 21 August 2020

Beth Chatto's gardens in Elmstead Market have been given national recognition Picture: HISTORIC ENGLAND

Beth Chatto's gardens in Elmstead Market have been given national recognition Picture: HISTORIC ENGLAND

Archant

Prestigious gardens in Colchester have been given additional protection after being recognised by Historic England.

Beth Chatto in her garden in 2005 before her death in 2018 Picture: James FletcherBeth Chatto in her garden in 2005 before her death in 2018 Picture: James Fletcher

The Beth Chatto Gardens will be added to the National Heritage List for England to help protect their future.

The gardens were one of 24 locations across the UK to be added to the list and one of only three in the East of England.

The designation gives the gardens a status equal to that of a listed building when it comes to the planning system.

The seven-acre gardens were created by garden designer and plantswoman Beth Chatto in the village of Elmstead Market.

The gardens will now be protected as an example of post war design Picture: HISTORIC ENGLANDThe gardens will now be protected as an example of post war design Picture: HISTORIC ENGLAND

They are considered significant in the terms of the history of English gardens.

Mrs Chatto began work on the site in the 1960s and was still working with her team on planting there up until her death in 2018.

You may also want to watch:

She was an advocate of using plants that worked in harmony with local conditions and her ‘right plant, right place’ philosophy, radical at the time, still shapes gardening today.

The gardens are seen as having a global significance Picture: HISTORIC ENGLANDThe gardens are seen as having a global significance Picture: HISTORIC ENGLAND

When she began work on the Beth Chatto Gardens the site was an area of wilderness, unsuitable for conventional gardening.

Now, however, the space is made up of a series of linked gardens which suit both dry and water logged soils; the space features areas such as the Mediterranean Garden, the Gravel Garden, the Reservoir Garden and the Water Garden.

Mrs Chatto used a series of footpaths, terraces, mature oak trees, stepped ponds and a canalised drainage ditch, as well as her own house, to create a structural framework.

She also drew on her knowledge of the artistic principles of ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging.

The gardens were one of 24 landscapes recognised nationally Picture: HISTORIC ENGLANDThe gardens were one of 24 landscapes recognised nationally Picture: HISTORIC ENGLAND

The structural framework for Beth Chatto’s pioneering design survives virtually intact today and are open to the public to visit.

Tony Calladine, regional director of Historic England in the East of England said: “These past few months have taught us that our green open spaces improve the quality of the environment around us, are good for our wellbeing and give us breathing space.

“This project shines a light on some amazing historic landscapes that exist all over the country, celebrating how they enhance our lives, and helping to protect them for generations to come.”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East Anglian Daily Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Most Read

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Most Read

Latest from the East Anglian Daily Times