Bridges, Suffolk; where Shakespeare takes centre stage

Behind the wisteria clad facade of this 15th century terraced house in the centre of the village of Woolpit, Suffolk lies a garden of surprises. Banks of iris, an abundance of apple trees, a godzilla fountain, a classical ‘Umbrello’ and the ‘Shakespeare Garden’ are complimented with beautiful town views to create a theatrical garden not to be missed. Join owner Michael Elles as he takes you on a virtual visit:

A closer look

The original property was the home and business of the local village butcher but it has been transformed into a magical home and enchanting garden by the current owners. “Little was left in the private walled garden at the rear of the house, but this afforded an opportunity to cover the walls with different climbing plants, trees and shrubs,” explains Michael Elles. “A breeze block workshop and garage was removed to make way for a greenhouse and matching potting shed around a small parterre, but the main feature here is the Shakespeare Garden, bordered by purple Prunus and Beech hedges. The lawn in front of a bust of Shakespeare is planted with a carpet of 7000 Crocus in varieties of purple, blue, striped, and white. At the opposite end of this garden a recently constructed ‘Umbrello’, inspired by the designs of Batty Langley, provides a sheltered view to Shakespeare.”

There is much more to explore. Areas lead to formal fruit, vegetables and flower beds. The old Box bordered asparagus bed has been given over to Peony and Dahlia planting, giving a longer season of colour and there are many selections of trained fruit including 23 old and new varieties for apples.


Near the top of the garden there is a mature walnut tree. From here you can see ‘The Ring Cycle’, three large circular steps made from recycled bricks and materials dug out from the garden which lead you to a more relaxed area with a large pond and informal planting. Three very old willow trees have been pollarded and Hydrangea petiolaris allowed to climb. Here a small range of camelias, rhododendrons and azaleas grow adding wonderful splashes of colour. There is also an area planted with cyclamen coum grown from seed giving a delightful and welcome brightness to the gloomy late winter months.

The ‘ditch walk’, an old village water course, has been planted with robust varieties that are left to fight it out with each other and a glorious white wisteria showers you with tumbles of blossom as your reach the end of your visit.

Find out more about this garden and when it opens here

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