Dewstow hidden gardens & grottoes

One of the most exciting horticultural finds of recent years has been the underground Edwardian gardens at Dewstow House in Monmouthshire. In 1893, Henry Oakley purchased the ancient Dewstow estate, managing it until his death in 1940. A keen horticulturist and wealthy bachelor, Oakley embarked on the creation of a truly ambitious and unique garden in his grounds.

Commissioning eminent London landscapers Pulham & Son, work on the massive project began in the late 19th century. While there are many examples of Pulhams work in stately homes in the UK, Dewstow is unique in its scale and subterranean focus.

With no descendants the land passed from Oakley at his death in 1940. During the forties the garden was filled in and the land reverted to working pastureland. The vast majority of the private gardens were buried or destroyed and as no records of their existence remained they were together until the land was purchased by the Harris family in 2000.

After an initial investigation, the discovery of steps leading down and other evidence of garden were found. Subsequent excavation has revealed far more than was ever imagined. This astonishing grade 1 listed garden has been found to be one of the most significant examples of Pulhams landscape gardens. The renovation  of the grounds to their original glory has been an ongoing undertaking. With the records of both Oakley and Pulhams families destroyed, there is very little information on the original gardens, their reconstruction is an intricate historical and horticultural puzzle.

Helen and Roger went to visit the gardens last week with overseas guest & they were beautiful.

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