Lavenham Hall: Sculpted to perfection

This pretty five acre garden outside the historic village of Lavenham in Suffolk has been revived over the last ten years by current owners Anthony Faulkner and his sculptor wife, Kate Denton. Much of the garden was originally set out in the 1880s by William Biddell who planted many of the now established trees but the family money dried up and the place slowly fell into disrepair. “It was a case of archaeology,” says Anthony. “Finding the old flower beds and plants, cutting them back, augmenting them – it’s been enormous fun and very satisfying.”

Enjoy a gentle tour of the gardens and Kate’s wonderful sculptors and make a date to return when the gardens reopen:

A closer look…

The ruins of Lavenham Hall are in the garden, their footprint in front of the house informing the layout of four long herbaceous beds that were cut from what was a field about 15 years ago. Sorbus and cardoom add height while the yew hedges add structure and the perfect backdrop for Kate’s sculpture.

The old village carp lake adds a restful dimension. The spring that feeds it criss-crossed by pretty bridges including the Monet bridge, made from oak cut on the curve, which affords a lovely view back across the water to the house.

The lake walk, left largely wild with a path mown through, is planted with specimen trees and dotted with sculpture including a magnificent stag called ‘The Young Pretender’. Crossing the stream, a Victorian Yew walk transects the path and a Sequoia, planted by William Biddell, is said to be the tallest in the UK.

There’s a shade bed grown for leaf and shape with few flowers but which becomes riotous with acers, euphorbia and over 250 hostas in late May when the garden would normally open for the National Garden Scheme. More formal box hedges surround the stunning ‘Dare to Dream’ – a winged sculpture based on the story if Icarus – and beyond, an old orchard, wild flower garden and vegetable patch lead to the sculpture studio and back to the old farmyard, dominated by a magnificent horse sculpture.

 

“It’s the studio and the green house that matter here,” says Anthony. “The house and the bedrooms are largely surplus to requirement!”

Set next to Lavenham Church, said to have the tallest village church tower in the country, the village was a prosperous wool town in the 1400s and has more listed buildings per head of population than anywhere in the UK. While Lavenham Hall doesn’t provide teas they do encourage people to explore the village and its tea shops and pubs and the Guild Hall. It’s a wonderful, enriching visit with a glorious garden and so much more.

You can visit the sculpture studio by appointment see: www.katedenton.com

To find out when Lavenham Hall is next open for the National Garden Scheme click here

This film is being released during our Gardens and Health Week. For more information click here

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