Stillingfleet Lodge Gardens
Stillingfleet Lodge Gardens
At Stillingfleet Lodge a series of plantings in cottage garden style are layered around a late 18th century farmhouse. There is a wildflower walk to a natural pond, plus rare breeds of poultry to enjoy. The garden is especially notable for good autumn colour.

Stillingfleet is a family garden, linked to a popular nursery. The gardens began in 1975, and were laid out around an old 18th-century farmhouse that had been lying empty.

The gardens have been developed over 40 years, and are designed to encourage wildlife. The core of the garden is laid out around the house, with a long avenue planted with a double herbaceous border, leading further to a wildflower meadow. The cottage gardens are themed by colour, and designed for maximum scent, rich colour, and easy maintenance.

The meadow is planted with perennials, and boasts a small pond to encourage birds, and animals. At the rear of the wildflower meadow is a series of beehives. These are out of bounds to visitors but the bees themselves fly freely around the meadow!

There is a kitchen garden, nurseries, orchards, and rare breeds of poultry, and woodland walks linking the wildlife pond to the cottage gardens. In addition, there is a friendly courtyard cafe which also hosts a monthly exhibition of local art. The gardens also hold regular craft and gardening courses such as organic gardening, beekeeping and basket weaving.

Summer flowers surround the wildlife pond
Summer flowers surround the wildlife pond

Visiting

The gardens are signposted off the B1222 about 5 miles south of York - look for the brown tourist sign with a flower symbol. There is a free parking area and level access to the garden entrance. After paying for entrance you get a very useful map of the garden showing the main garden areas. Near the entrance is a formal garden area of raised beds and glorious colour, giving way to an orchard. On one side of the house are lawns with clipped hedges leading down to a poultry run with rare breeds of chickens.

On the far side of the house is the secluded Rill Garden with a wonderful modern sculpture and canal feature. This gives access to the Pear Tree Garden and a woodland walk that leads in turn to a wildlife pond and beyond to a lush willdflower meadow. You catch glimpses beyond the wildflower meadow of an apiary with beehives but there is no entry to this area for obvious reasons.

The garden is fairly small, but there is a lot of interest and a lot of colour in such a small area. I loved the Rill Garden and the area around the Wildlife Pond. There is also a small teashop near the house and plenty of space to relax and enjoy the quiet. I loved Stillingfleet Lodge Garden.

While in Stillingfleet do not miss the chance to visit the medieval parish church, famous for its early medieval door; it is considered one of the oldest doors in England and may date to as early as the 10th century.