This was the walled garden for Duncombe Park and was built well away from the house where it wouldn’t intrude upon the carefully landscaped parkland. It is a lovely setting below the walls of the ruined Helmsley castle and is one of the best views of the castle.
Many of the gardeners joined the military during WW1 and the earl was killed in combat, leaving a 10 year old successor. The estate trustees leased the walled garden as a market garden after the war and it was eventually abandoned in 1984. It became very overgrown until local woman, Alison Ticehurst, began to restore the garden back to its Victorian splendour and as a place for the local community to enjoy.
The garden is now run by an independent charity with a dedicated band of volunteers. Its aim is to encourage “thersapeutic horticulture”:https://helmsleywalledgarden.org.uk/the-garden/therapeutic-horticulture/
by encouraging people to engage in gardening to improve their physical and mental health and well being.
The paths still follow their original plan, dividing the garden into four quarters of a square with a small ornamental pond at the centre.
In early June, the hot border leading to the pond was colourful with Allium and spurge.The smaller paths at right angles to the central border are framed with Laburnum arches. the laburnum had begun to flower, but needed another week to be seen at its best.
Each of the four quarters is very different. That immediately to the right entering the garden is the gravel garden with the orchard beyond. The fruit trees were surrounded by wild flower meadow with bluebells, cow parsley, buttercups and red clover. The secret garden was still ‘very early spring’ and the plants were only just beginning to grow.
Beyond the laburnum arch were the community plots, set in raised beds and the vegetable garden. This provides ingredients for the Vine House Cafe. Fruit trees grow up the walls.
The two quarters on the castle side of the garden are less interesting, with the picnic area and event lawn. Don’t get too excited by the chickens or pond, which is a tiny rectangle.
Alison’s garden with its grass, trees and borders is probably the most attractive, along with the Iris Border. Near the Iris border is the tiny and very attractive Linda Weyer garden with its elephant feature, which was planted in her memory a few years ago.
The glass houses have been restored however one was empty, one was being used for potting plants and the other had a display of geraniums.
The garden is a few minutes walk from the centre of Helmsley and is well signed. There is limited parking by the garden so it probably makes sense to park in one of the central car parks.
The garden is well kept with very few weeds. There are staff working in the garden who are happy to stop and talk to visitors. Plants aren’t labelled. There are plenty of seats to sit and relax. There is a popular cafe as well as shop and plant sales.
It is a fairly small and compact garden and doesn’t take long to walk around. It is an attractive and pleasant place to drop out in the sunshine.
There are three blue badge spaces by the garden entrance and visitors are advised to contact the garden office to make sure a space will be kept for them.
There is good disabled access around the garden along well made paths. There is level access to the shop and cafe, and a ramp in the cafe between two levels.
There are a few wheelchairs available for free loan and visitors are advised to book these in advance.
There is a disabled toilet just inside the entrance to the cafe.
“More information here”:https://helmsleywalledgarden.org.uk/visit/access-to-the-garden/