National Trust Woolbeding Gardens, Midhurst, England

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: National Trust Woolbeding Gardens, Midhurst, England

Environment

Here at Woolbeding Gardens we try to be as sustainable as possible. We get through a lot of compost, as there are large areas of plants and flowers, so to help lower our impact on the environment we make sure it is peat free. This is compost that is made from recycled materials, much of which would have been garden waste that would have been sent to landfill sites; it produces really good results in the gardens. We also have recycling programmes in place and our cups are recyclable too.

There is a vegetable patch here at the gardens, we try to grow as much as we can. At the moment, seasonal vegetables from the garden can be purchased in our on site shop. Various plants from the garden are also available to purchase in the shop.

As there are a variety of garden types on site, a wide range of wildlife live here and pass through. The most common you are likely to see will be the beautiful birds. Youíll see Robins, Blackbirds and other garden birds flitting around the garden rooms and Canada Geese on the River Rother, which flows through part of that gardens. Our new bird hide has been built especially for keen bird watchers and has information about the kinds of birds you might spot, along with bird feeders to encourage them.

Bees and butterflies are encouraged as much as possible by planting the right kinds of flowers. The gardeners are continually experimenting with the planting of different flowers. Some are rare and some are not but there is always something beautiful to see; there is a real mix of designed planted boarders and wild flowers. The amazing oriental plane trees are at either end of the hornbeam tunnel, which are lovely to sit under and the beautiful lake here is home to 12 different species of dragonfly!

Woolbeding Gardens only have disabled parking, and for everybody else we run a park and ride service from Midhurst. Minibuses run from the town centre to the gardens and back again; booking of this service is essential. There are also various footpaths that lead to the gardens, so people can walk or cycle here; there is on site bicycle parking facilities. The closest train station is about 8 Ĺ miles away in Petersfield and from there you can catch the bus into Midhurst.

Community

Woolbeding Gardensí experienced gardeners are always happy to help. Being a private garden there arenít any plant labels, so if you want to find out about any of the plants you see, just ask.

The garden team are involved in the local community by spreading their knowledge about plant life and gardening. Various groups and societies get in contact with the team, such as the local WI and local gardening groups, to ask for one of our gardeners to go along to meetings in the village hall and do talks. We also run various gardener workshops throughout the year that people can sign up to and learn about specific plants and gardening techniques.

Depending on the length of an individual visit, visitors might want to explore the surrounding area or see some other attractions on their day out. Our team can suggest places to eat and drink in Midhurst; Cowdray Farm Shop and Tea Rooms is a favourite. Midhurst has lots of small independent shops on the high street and during an afternoon pottering around the town youíll be sure to find something you like. Cowdray Park and Ruins are also worth a visit if you are only spending one day in the area.

Landscape

The gardens themselves are situated in a beautiful landscape, and the pasture land in particular lends itself to wonderful views out over the South Downs National Park. The open countryside and rolling hills, with sheep grazing in the fields and the River Rother running steadily through the land. The gardens are an example of man made design that displays a range of plants and styles of gardening, then you can stroll out into the natural formed open landscape which is waiting to be explored.

From the gardens you can walk to Woolbeding Common, a lowland heath that supports rare breeds of bird including the Nightjar and Woodlark. There is also a thriving reptile community amongst the heather and gorse and you might even see a long-horned beetle. This whole area is surrounded by woodland with magnificent oaks reaching into the sky. You can follow the Rother River along to Midhurst or to Woolbeding; wherever you go you can enjoy and enrich yourself with the stunning surroundings that we are so lucky to be part of.

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