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Beth Chatto Gardens

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Clacton Road

The Beth Chatto Gardens began in 1960. From an overgrown wasteland with poor gravel soil and boggy hollows, it has been transformed into an informal garden harmonising with the surrounding countryside.

In the gravel garden, areas have been filled with drought loving plants, emulating a winding dried-up river bed. Star performers include alliums providing jewel rich colours, whilst kniphofias, verbascums and flowering grasses add strong verticals amongst the bold groupings of ballota, lavandula and santolina.

The gentle descent into what was once a soggy hollow has now been turned into dramatic water gardens. Five large ponds were created where, from early summer until late autumn, the impact of lush green growth is almost overpowering. Huge upturned parasols of Gunnera tinctoria tower above a hundred shades of green, creating a scene of harmony and tranquillity.

In autumn tall grasses shimmer with ribbon-like leaves, punctuating this green landscape with their rich tones.

The woodland brings varying shades of colour in spring and autumn. Spring bulbs grow through varied foliage plants, illuminating the floor for weeks.

By mid-summer there is a wealth of different leaf patterns, while autumn brings colonies of Japanese anemonies and colchicums. Finally there are the reds, ambers and golds of falling leaves.

General Information:

  • Coach parties by appointment

  • Large tea room

  • Bring a picnic to be eaten in the grassed car park

  • Sorry, dogs are not allowed.

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  • Directions

    The Gardens are situated 6 miles east of Colchester, and a 1/4 mile east of Elmstead Market, on the A133 - please follow the brown tourist signs.

    Beth Chatto Gardens Postcode for SatNav: CO7 7DB


    +44 (0)1206 822 007
    +44 (0)1206 825 933

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