The gardens at Lowther are unique, having lain untended for generations and in more recent times overplanted with spruce plantations and a chicken farm! All around this hidden gem an idyllic pastoral landscape stretches away into the far distance,unchanged for hundreds of years. Since the inception of the restoration project in 2007 we have worked tirelessly to unpick centuries of neglect and not only stablise the castle itself, but undertake the slow and painstaking work of restoring huge swathes of the forgotten gardens.

The South Lawns

In the early 1900’s immaculately kept lawns and a bowling green were the key features of this area. When the castle and gardens were abandoned in 1937, the lawns were concreted over and used by the army for tank training purposes. Up until recently the lawns were the site of several large chicken sheds. Now transformed into lawns and paths the construction of these represents the biggest single change we have made in the gardens. There are four lawns flanked by enormous beds of perennial wildflowers native to the region, for the benefit of insect wildlife.

The Yew Avenue

The Yew avenue is one of the oldest original features in the garden. Also known as the Yew grove it is believed to have been first planted in the early 17th Century. The oldest yew is thought to be around 350-400 years old. We have replanted some of the missing Yews in order to give a better sense of the original avenue layout.

The Japanese Garden

The Japanese garden is another in the suite of Edwardian gardens which we believe was designed by Thomas Mawson. The Japanese garden is an Edwardian interpretation of the Japanese stroll garden in which people are invited to walk around and explore, usually around a central pond or lake. Bonsai trees sat in pots alongside fountains, metal cranes and a giant bronze stag kept watch over the garden. Needless to say that we will not replicate these designs, we will however aim to plant some Japanese plant species and seek to restore the paths and water features in the future.

The Sweet Scented Garden

In the Edwardian heyday of the sweet scented garden you would have passed through dense shrub planting designed to enclose the garden and to hide it from view. This garden is all but lost; the tree planting which took place here has almost obliterated the shape of the paths and beds which were once planted with scented geranium, lilies and nepeta. The strange stone cairns are water features, there are taps in the back (if you care to look) – they don’t work, we have tried! We will not seek to restore this garden but aim to retain the lost and romantic feel of it.

The Alpine Garden

The Alpine garden seems to be an alteration of early features of this area. On the first edition OS map the area is depicted as a quarry and an ice house. The Alpine Garden is one of the very least disturbed of the Edwardian gardens and very little is known about it. The Northern side seems to retain some of the structure of the original ice house, but very little clearance work has been done. We aim to clear the paths and retain the garden as a fernery.


Explore Lowther in Pictures by Tony Rumsey