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Open Day

Thornham Walled Garden is preparing to open with the National Gardens Scheme for the first time

Built in the 1840s to provide vegetables, fruit and flowers for the ‘big house’ on the local estate, Thornham Walled Garden spent years in dilapidation, its borders grown wild and glasshouses collapsing, before a lottery grant allowed its renovation in the 1980s.

Today it’s home to Beyond the Walls, a charity which provides work experience and life-skill training to people with disabilities, and it’s preparing to open with the National Gardens Scheme for the first time next month.

Spanning two acres and still following the renovation format drawn up by designer Peter Thoday, the plot features mirrored rose and double herbaceous borders, a tropical glasshouse, a vinery, orchard and fruit and veg gardens. It’s home to 190 fruit trees, including meddler and quince, as well as apple and pear.

Maintained by lead project worker Phill Vaughan-Williams, a team of volunteers and the attendees of Beyond the Wall, who benefit from what the charity calls ‘green therapy’ while they learn and work, the garden is a hive of activities, which vary from propagation and tending of vegetables to yoga, photography and cookery sessions.

Thornham Walled Garden is at Thornham, Eye IP23 8HA. It’s open to the public, via the NGS, on April 4, 11am to 4pm. Entry costs £5 for adults, children go free, and homemade teas will be available. See ngs.org.uk for more.

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