Garden Portrait: Scotney Castle

Scotney Castle and Garden lies in west Kent close to Lamberhurst village and is one of the most romantic landscape gardens designed in the picturesque style. The planting is very natural with the ruins of the 14† century Old Castle at its centre. The ‘new’ castle was built in 1835 which was when the gardens around the ruins were created by Edward Hussey III.

View of the Old Castle from the Bastion

Terraces lead to a viewing point, the semi-circular bastion, with views over the Quarry Garden with its sandstone features, azaleas, ferns and other flowering shrubs towards the Old Castle and moat. There is a small triangular rose garden with a Venetian font and a lion’s-head fountain nearby and steps and paths lead down the Lime Walk and onto the main lawn before reaching the boathouse.

The Boathouse and the Sweet Gum tree

Autumn is a good time to visit with lots of oranges, reds and yellows bursting across the landscape. There are many beautiful trees in this garden including Japanese Acers, Sweet Gums, a Tulip tree and a Black Tulepo. My visit was in early September so too soon for much autumn colour, but it did mean that some plants were still flowering in the herbaceous borders and the rose garden.

The lawns are edged with mature trees and rhododendrons, kalmia and other shrubs and the Sweet Bourne fringed by trees feeds the moat. The walk leads to the stream garden and across a Chinese bridge where you will find a Henry Moore sculpture.

Sculpture by Henry Moore on the isthmus

The walk continues along the south-east side of the moat, with views focused on the house above the gardens, then returns along the north-west side to reach the approach to the Old Castle, which lies on the north-east of the two islands in the moat and forms the scenic focus of the garden landscape.

The path leads across a stone causeway and between remnants of stone gate piers leading into the Castle courtyard which contains a circular bed enclosed by yew hedges and herb beds.

Courtyard

The remains of the Old Castle (listed grade I), built in 1370, are of sandstone, with the single tower of the four possible originals, topped by its C17 conical roof and lantern, standing in the south corner of the curtain-walled island. It is like something out of a fairytale.

Reflection

Size: 30 acres (12 hectares)

Thanks to Historic England for details contained in this post.

If you like a walk, long or short, then please visit Jo for her regular strolls in the UK and the Algarve and maybe you would like to join in too. She’s very welcoming.

50 thoughts on “Garden Portrait: Scotney Castle

  1. You paint an alluring portrait. I’d never heard of this garden, but it’s gone straight on to my (lengthy) southern-gardens-to-visit list. And, as a bonus, I just discovered your own list of gardens around the world on the links below – what a wonderful resource. It’s a pity that The Reader redirects people who might otherwise linger around and exploring the actual blog – yours is a rainy day gardening treasure trove.

  2. What a blissful place and so blissfully captured here. We used to live in Kent. I can’t imagine why we never came here, apart from the fact that we seemed to have problems navigating our way out of Medway. We’d goo too used to there being only one main road in Kenya.

    • Kent has some of the most magnificent gardens (as has the rest of the SE) If it wasn’t so expensive and crowded to live there I would have been very happy with all the gardens to visit.

  3. You’ve been sitting on this one well, Jude. It’s fabulous! 🙂 🙂 One to drool over. And thank you for not forgetting me. The walk I did today will almost certainly be my next Monday walk, when I get round to it. No self discipline, you see 🙂

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