Kilver Court Gardens in Shepton Mallet is known as ‘The Secret Garden of Somerset’ Originally a mill and later the headquarters for British fashion label Mulberry, the stunning historical gardens are an oasis in the centre of an industrial area on the Mendips.
This was my first visit to Kilver Court, whilst I had some expectations of what would greet me, I have to say I was gobsmacked that this little English Countryside delight was on my doorstep, and I didn’t know about it. It certainly was ‘The Secret Garden’ but that probably highlights more about my dormitory existence in recent years, rather than their marketing!
The gardens are of a modest size, around 3.5 acres but beautifully laid out with a spectacular backdrop – a vast Grade II listed viaduct, built as part of the Somerset and Dorset railway in the 1800s.
The foreground is dominated by the award winning rockery and Victorian boating lake. The rockery is beautifully designed and populated with a diverse and well considered range of conifers and rockery plants, interspersed with cascades and lawn. The Viaduct not only provides this quite outstanding backdrop connecting you with the rolling Mendips beyond, but also reveals a quiet, well cared for lawn area with beautiful and traditional English garden borders, taken over by an abundance of butterflies and bees.
Kilver Court Gardens provide an excellent addition for Somerset visitors, and an oasis of tranquillity for locals to indulge in perhaps, a little historic reading. The history of the gardens and surrounding industrial area, from the wool and silk trades, local riots and social reform through to the days of Babycham. Fascinating and revealing stuff.