Gardens & Grounds

The Gardens are not open during our Christmas season. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Located in an area of outstanding natural beauty, the hilltop site of the Museum’s home, Claverton Manor, takes full advantage of the spectacular views over the Limpley Stoke Valley and River Avon.

The grounds total some 125 acres, of which 35 are open to visitors. The parkland, with its majestic old cedars, provides a circular walk through ancient meadows, while above the manor a path has been created through woodland.

Remnants of the old Italianate style manorial pleasure gardens and parkland, dating from the 1820s, can be seen within the grounds, including period features such as the grotto, the balustrade and curtain walling, as well as ornamental stone work. This work is attributed to George Vivian, son of the original owner of Claverton Manor, John Vivian.

The General’s Garden; magnificent Mount Vernon’s make over

Our replica of George Washington’s Upper Garden, which was built here in 1962, is no longer true to the original.

Extensive archaeological research was carried out between 2005 and 2010 at Mount Vernon in Virginia, and in 2012 a complete restoration project was carried out to change the layout so that it represents the Upper Garden as it would have appeared in 1799, the year Washington died.

With the help of Parsons Landscapes, we will be demolishing and rebuilding the ‘hard’ features, such as the boundary wall and picket fence, and fix drainage and irrigation problems. We will import over 200 tonnes of topsoil to make the garden more level and improve growing conditions.

When the works are complete, the garden will have a different layout with new planting beds and new pathways.

The ground works are scheduled to take 6 weeks, begging in mid- August. During this time Mount Vernon will be closed and while we apologise for any disruption to your visit, we also hope that you will understand why this work is so important.

This autumn the Garden Team will begin replanting the parterre with around 2,000 box plants and begin the planting on the ornamental border around the shield bed. Next spring, the first vegetables and colorful annuals will appear.

We are grateful for generous support from the Frances K. and Charles D. Field Foundation in California, which has helped to fund this work.