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Westonbury Mill Water Gardens, Herefordshire


Situated on the A44 a few miles west of Pembridge, Herefordshire. In April this year I needed some parts for a water feature so drove to the water gardens thinking it to be a showroom. I got a shock on arrival as it turned out to be a privately owned house set in 17 acres, the gardens of which are open to the public.

I parked the car and walked towards a long, wooden building, which turned out to be a restaurant with loos and a greenhouse where produce from the gardens was for sale. They did not have what I wanted but I decided to stay and explore anyway. I’m glad that I did as, though small, the gardens were perfectly formed.

I walked along a stream towards the house. the daffs were out in force along with marsh marigolds.

I passed a tiny tower, which I later discovered, was a Dovecote. Down one side it had a pulley with wooden ‘shoes’, which filled with water from the stream then emptied into a tank at the top. Every so often, the water would empty through a carved spout at the side.

Around the other side of the dovecote was a doorway, which I entered. A ladder gave access to a loft; just below which was a tiny alcove where a white dove was softly cooing on her nest!

I emerged from the dovecote and noticed a strange curved building a few yards away so headed for it.

It turned out to be another ‘folly’, this time made of glass bottles with the bases facing outward. The effect on the inside was unexpected; the bottle heads and necks making a colourful pattern and texture as these photos show.

A tiny pool added another dimension giving it a magical feel.

Continuing my tour, I was amused by the sight of a wheelbarrow with items for the garden; reminding me that this was someone’s garden with the usual demands of a work in progress.

Further along I came to a large man-made pond where willows were just showing green.

Across the water was a strange, alpine looking building…

…and straight ahead was an African looking structure, which reminded me of a bandstand.

Spring flowers such as wood anemone and snakes-head fritillary were beginning to open.

The garden was bounded by a narrow, fast-flowing stream which fed a leat which, in its turn, fed the pond. It appeared to be fairly new and bare, but already there were signs of nature clothing the banks in the yellows of spring.

Dry, earthy mounds of the world’s largest leaved plant, Gunnera, reflected the shape of a nearby terraced tump, made from left over soil.

A stump, lichen covered,…

…a pile of logs,…

…and a trunk that had split, looking for all the world, like a couple that had come together again.

Above our heads; reds of trees sprouting leaves…

…and acers bronzing in the breeze.

For the cool, spring days, this bench is well protected; a gentleman kindly posed!

Not having this problem today I continued my walk, stopping to admire this stone folly (the floating daffodil was nature’s contribution);

a wooden waterfall flows into a pool of purple dead-nettle.

As I approached the opposite side of the pool, I had another view of the alpine looking building.

Luckily for me the time was fast approaching one o’clock, as the building turned out to be a cuckoo clock complete with giant, wooden cuckoo and genuine, recorded sound effects! Yet another of this garden’s amazing follies!

The owner, Mr Pim (in the pale blue shirt and white hat), had built it himself and was on hand to explain the mechanism, so the ladies stepped back to allow the men in!

A staircase led right up to the top where one could inspect each part of the clock.

There was also a plethora of photos and information on the walls.

Once the cuckoo had gone back to sleep, I continued on my way, taking in the finer details such as this peeling bark and bracket fungi.

There were various man-made bridges; plain, practical affairs and brightly coloured ones such as the ‘Monet’ Bridge.

A new pond, looking stark against its soft, rural surroundings,…

…led me back towards the lovely old mill house.

I eventually reached the restaurant where I relaxed over a hot drink.

Some of the other visitors were seated outside, watching the lambs leaping about.

And I met ‘mum’ on the way from the car park!

Although Westonbury Mill couldn’t supply the parts for my water feature, the walk around their gardens was definitely worth it!

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Just goes to prove that sometimes the best days out are the unplanned ones! What a stunning place! The bottle folly is spectacular and unexpected, did he drink it all himself do you think? Or perhaps he raided the bottle bank.
Loved the tree stump with the lichen and your 'courting couple'.
Your photo's are super, the one of the bracket fungi looks just as if they are stairs up to a hidden house in the ivy - see I've got imagination too!

12 Jul, 2015


Sorry you didn't get the part you needed but so pleased you found this place and decided to stay, its wonderful with its bridges and follies, that alpine lodge clock is a delight must have been truly amazing seeing and hearing it working and not something you'd expect to find whilst wandering in a woodland walk, I think the bottle house is smashing as well and love your interpretation of the gnarled tree.
Your photo's are great, I enjoyed taking the tour with you.. Added to my favs..
Honey I think along the same lines and was looking for the fairy door, lol....

13 Jul, 2015


Wow, you must be very glad you decided to stay and explore - this garden is definitely a one-off! Really enjoyed this amazing tour - thank you!
It made me chuckle to note that the sheep is apparently an F1 hybrid!

Added to Favourites

13 Jul, 2015


Thanks for the tour. I really enjoyed reading it.

14 Jul, 2015


Thanks for your positive comments; I felt this garden deserved a free advert!
I recommend it to anyone passing along the A44 through Herefordshire, along with nearby Pembridge, which is so 'Picture Postcard'.

21 Jul, 2015


What a fabulous place & what a lucky chance you discovered it. I just love the folly's - the bottle building & cuckoo clock are utterly amazing & so well done.
It must be great to have the imagination, knowhow, space & ability to make such things.
The split trunk is a feature in itself, I would want to preserve the loving couple somehow.
..... added to favs.

15 Nov, 2015


This garden is well worth a visit, We have spent time in Herefordshire for the last eighteen years and have visited Westonbury Mill many times. It has been featured in magazines and on TV.

Lovely images.

(The little café sells beautiful bread, so good we sought out the bakery and buy bread and cakes whenever we are there.)

16 Mar, 2016

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