The Walled Garden

When the Cunliffe-Lister family bought back Swinton Park in 2000, the walled garden had fallen into decline. Up until the mid 1970s the garden had been maintained by a team of 11 gardeners, growing produce for the house, but once the house was sold it was used for pheasant rearing and later as a Christmas tree plantation.

Once the trees had been cleared and roots dug out, the four acre garden was a blank canvas. Susan Cunliffe-Lister had already masterminded the restoration of the award winning gardens at Burton Agnes in East Yorkshire, and she set about designing a garden that would be productive, easy to maintain and capable of delivering produce into the hotel and cookery school kitchens that could be put to good use.

Initially, four main perennial crops were planted : asparagus, artichokes, blueberries and autumn fruiting raspberries. The aim was to produce something unusual and not readily available, with low maintenance and a long fruiting period.

Since then over 60 varieties of fruit and vegetables have been planted such as squash, courgettes, rhubarb, strawberries, alpine strawberries, Jerusalem artichokes and a very wide range of herbs.

Over an acre of the garden has also been planted out with flowers, to be cut fresh for the hotel or dried, and that are over ten varieties of apple trees. A combination of sheep fleeces and permeable membrane laid over the soil ensures that this is a well fertilized and virtally weed and spray free garden.

Throughout the year, seasonal produce from the Walled Garden regularly features on the restaurant and cookery school menus. Garden Lunches with Susan Cunliffe-Lister comprise a two course lunch followed by a talk and tour of the garden, featuring the highlights of the season. Susan also runs the Garden Design Day course which includes a talk about the history of the parkland, restoration of the walled garden at Swinton Park and planning of the ornamental garden at Burton Agnes; together with planting and design ideas, a tour of the gardens and a two course lunch.

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Do you have a christening, birthday or anniversary coming up? Celebrate in style at Swinton Park. We can arrange a private event for 2 – 150 guests, starting from £9 per person for a cream tea, with additional benefits for larger groups. See Special Celebrations.

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