Penrith, Cumbria
Salary: £18,935.00 /year


Position: Gardener

Lowther Castle is set on a bluff surrounded by 3000 acres of parkland. The gardens themselves comprise 130 acres of horticultural history and ancient woodlands, reflecting over 700 years of man’s changing relationship with nature. After 70 years of neglect and decay, a major garden restoration project commenced in 2011. The intention is to reconnect the gardens to the surrounding landscape, to capture and re-interpret different periods across their history, and to add contemporary design ideas which will reassert Lowther as a landscape destination of national cultural significance. This is a garden of the unexpected, with the skeletons of Edwardian pleasure gardens sitting next to areas to be planted with a modern twist, geometric lawns surrounded by informal wild flower meadows, and romantic planting inside the castle ruins themselves, all interspersed with woodland and iconic trees of great age and rarity.

After 7 years of hard work by the team of gardeners and volunteers visitors can appreciate the spirit and the potential of these gardens, but a great deal of work still lies ahead. The person who joins our dedicated garden team will have a rare opportunity, working closely with top garden landscape designer Dan Pearson and Head Gardener Martin Ogle, to help create and maintain a world class garden visitor attraction in the Lake District.

Job Description: The Challenge

The gardens of Lowther Castle are unique, with a range of surviving garden layouts dating back to the early 17th century. The restoration project aims to unearth the hidden gardens, which have been overtaken by 70 years of debris and decay, in a way that respects the rich history and layouts of the original 17th century garden. The key aim of the project is to preserve and protect this original layout and historic features whilst developing some areas of the gardens with a modern touch in line with Dan Pearson’s ambitious garden master plan. Our intention is to create a world class garden visitor attraction.

Job title


Period of Contract

Permanent subject to 3 month probationary period

Responsible to:

Head Gardener and Senior Gardeners

Based at:

Lowther Castle and Gardens, Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2HH

Hours of work:

Full-time: 40 hours per week. Normal working days are Monday to Friday but job-holder will be expected to work some weekends as part of the garden team rota and occasional evenings.

Annual leave allowance of 28 days, including bank holidays.



Overall purpose

To assist in the provision of efficient, high quality horticulture, skilled restoration and maintenance of the 130 acre garden and grounds at Lowther Castle, as directed by the Head Gardener according to a programme of works developed from the garden master plan.

Key responsibilities

· Assist in garden and woodland restoration work.

· Seasonal maintenance and upkeep of lawns, wildflower meadows, floral areas, orchard, woodland gardens and historic features.

· Assist with hard landscaping projects and repairs as required.

· Encourage and support the work of a team of garden volunteers.

Main Duties

The job holder will work as part of the garden team to deliver the following:

  • Soil cultivation, digging, forking, mulching, watering, raking, weeding, pruning, seed sowing, bed preparation and planting.
  • Lawn and verges maintenance and cultivation.
  • Assisting with up keep of woodlands, thinning, clearing of fallen/wind-blown trees using forestry machinery and replanting
  • Laying out, preparing, constructing and planting new gardens, following given designs.
  • Basic hard landscaping tasks such as path construction and repairs to steps.
  • Use of machinery, such as lawn mowing equipment and leaf blowers.
  • Cleaning, maintaining and repairing tools and equipment.
  • Gritting and snow clearing as necessary within gardens and car park area.
  • Giving instruction and encouragement to a team of volunteers with a range of different abilities and experience.
  • Treating members of the public with courtesy, answering questions and encouraging their interest in the castle and gardens.
  • Understanding and encouraging, where possible and appropriate, wildlife diversity within the gardens.
  • Keeping mess room, tool sheds and workshop safe, clean and tidy.
  • Carrying out any other duties requested by the Head Gardener. From time to time this will include working with the larger visitor attraction team to deliver events, such as Halloween.

In order to carry out these duties, the job holder will need to develop:

  • A working knowledge and broad familiarity with the plants found within the gardens.
  • An understanding of the garden’s history and of the plans for future developments in the gardens.


Proven ability and competencies

· Experience in a large garden, as part of a team, working on a wide range of horticultural and landscaping projects

  • Proven competence in the safe use and maintenance of garden machinery.

Other skills and abilities

Good plant identification skills and plant handling experience.

  • Full clean driving license.
  • Willingness to work alongside people – volunteers and public – and ability to mix well

Qualifications, training and Knowledge.

· Recognised horticultural qualification.

· Good basic knowledge of plants, trees and fruit trees.

· PA1 & PA6 Pesticide application desirable but not essential

· Chainsaw tickets desirable but not essential.

· Basic first aid training.

· Awareness of relevant Health and Safety rules and regulations.

Personal Qualities

· Passionate about all aspects of horticulture.

· A good team player.

· A highly motivated individual with energy and enthusiasm, able to work on own initiative.

· Well organized and tidy in the work place, competent at keeping records.

· Good level of strength and fitness; able to do hard manual labour.

Closing Date for applications: Friday 8th February 2019

If you have not heard from us within two weeks of the closing date for applications, you should assume that your application has not been successful.

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