Hole Park is a private estate in Kent, close to the border with East Sussex. It’s on the High Weald between Rolvenden and Benenden and not far from Cranbrook and Tenterden. The family home has been in the same family, the Barhams, since the 1920s and is not open to the public, however, the 16 acre garden surrounding the house is open every day in the Spring (April to 4 July), Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7 July to the end of October and also Sundays in October, but check the comprehensive website www.holepark.com for opening times, prices and directions. Wheelchair users should also check the website for information about access to different parts of the garden as there are certain routes that have steps and steep slopes. Hole Park is also open on occasions under the NGS Scheme and for plant fairs and other special events. Hole Park is a Gardeners World Magazine 2-for-1 garden. The Bluebell Spectacular this year is from 10 April to 9 May with the bluebells gradually opening – the Bluebell Barometer on the website is updated regularly to show the stage that the flowers have reached. There is a circular walk through the woodlands that also passes the newly renovated ice house, that I haven’t been to see yet. Clipped yew hedges and statuary add structure and interest.
Springtime is particularly good at Hole Park as in addition to the bluebells there are bulbs and flowering trees and shrubs including azaleas and camellias. In the summer the borders are filled with roses, clematis, alliums, agapanthus and many more colourful herbaceous plants. Trees in the woodland and garden make a visit in Autumn a must as the leaves turn to gold, orange or red;the acers are particularly stunning. The garden is surrounded by the estate of 200 acres and there are wonderful views over the surrounding countryside in what is a particularly attractive area of the Weald.
The light lunches and cakes served at the cafe are good; I can remember having delicious soup and bacon rolls on one bone-chillingly cold February day while attending a snowdrop day and plant fair, but there are also the popular scones with jam and cream, large slices of cakes, etc. Currently, with Covid restrictions in place, all the tables are outside. The toilets are conveniently situated by the path that leads into the formal gardens.
My photos don’t do justice to Hole Park; I know I’ve taken some good ones in the past, but I can’t find them at the moment. My photos are therefore from two different times of year – May and February – so the only ones that aren’t bluebells were taken in February which is not the best time for any garden, but I still think they show some clever features. However, the website has a good range of photos of plants and views of the garden and woodland area at different times of the year.
“See the website for directions, opening times and prices”:https://www.holepark.com/