Whickham Hermitage Community Garden

Whickham Hermitage Community Garden banner image

This Victorian walled garden, reimagined for the 21st Century, provides an eclectic blend of old and new – wildlife pond; futuristic butterfly habitat; installations by local artists; themed planting areas; free wi-fi garden-wide; watch tower folly. This unique visitor attraction is in a picturesque village which belies its mining heritage.

This Garden was once part of the residence of Swalwell brewery owner, Matthew Taylor. The house eventually became a local authority care home and the garden, all but hidden for decades, became an overgrown jungle. In 2002 Whickham residents decided to act. Without records of original layout and few original features, this was no straightforward restoration project but a rethinking of a modern community garden (now registered charity).

Evidence remained of a mini boating lake and boat house with a “willow pattern” bridge. This area is now a wildlife pond; the bridge gives a terrific vantage point. The boat house provides the cellar to the architect-designed Orangery Tea Room. This all-weather haven also looks to the future with its south-facing roof designed for solar panels. A brick folly once offered breathtaking vistas. The 21st century wooden watch tower offers toilet facilities and houses security cameras!

Key in the Garden’s conservation work is the long-term Butterfly Project. Currently housed in a futuristic pod, native butterflies breed before their release as natural pollinators.

This visitor-friendly Garden is wheelchair accessible. Keen gardeners come across unusual plants such as the mouse-tail plant. Children enjoy the wendy house and chancing upon Peter Pan and Tinkerbell.

Venue: Whickham Hermitage Community Garden

Whickham Hermitage Community Garden

Accessibility Information

Garden, cafe and toilet accessible to wheelchairs and pushchairs.
No parking at the Garden please use parking facilities in the village.
Bus stop at end of Hermitage Lane.