Stanwick Lakes Heritage Gardens
The Heritage Gardens are located next to the Heritage Barn at Stanwick Lakes and have been developed and are maintained by a small, dedicated team of volunteers. The gardens complement the barn, showcasing plants which would have been grown in this area from Neolithic times until medieval times. Our volunteers have also carefully researched the different uses of the plants: whether for food & flavouring, medicine, dyeing, spiritual purposes, or just for their scent and decoration.
They are made up of four individual but inter-linked areas:
- The Heritage Garden
- The Heritage Wellbeing Orchard
- The Guild Garden
- The Iron Age Nursery Garden
The Heritage Garden
This was the first section to be developed. It was started in January 2019, when the volunteer team cleared the ground of weeds and other debris. By the end of that year, the garden had taken shape and the raised beds were filled with appropriate plants: fruit bushes, annual vegetables, old-fashioned roses, medicinal & culinary herbs, dyeing plants, and a more decorative bed.
Our volunteers continue to work on this garden to keep it looking at its best throughout the year. It attracts lots of interest from visitors, who are welcome to wander round to take a closer look – although we keep the gates shut so that the rabbits don’t get in to nibble the plants!
The Heritage Wellbeing Orchard
This aim of this area is to provide a quiet haven where visitors can contemplate nature and listen to the sounds of the wildlife. It was planted in March 2020 with heritage fruit trees – apples, pears, quince and medlar – and wildflowers.
The Guild Garden
This area is being redeveloped in a partnership between the Stanwick Lakes Heritage Team and the Northamptonshire Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers. The aim will be to provide sufficient plants for the Guild to be able to use them to dye yarn and fabric on site. While the focus will be on Iron Age plants like woad, weld and madder; other pre-medieval plants will also be grown in this area.
The Iron Age Nursery Garden
This is the latest area to be developed as part of the Stanwick Lakes Heritage Project – and is currently a “work in progress”. It will be made up of three raised beds which will be used to bring on plants from the Iron Age – shrubs & trees, herbs and flowers. Volunteers have learned how to make hurdle fencing to keep out the wildlife and will be using their skills to surround this garden. Once the Iron Age Roundhouse Area has been further developed, the nursery plants will be transplanted as part of the Iron Age Homestead.
None of this would have been possible without funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the loyal support of our volunteers.
If you are interested in volunteering in the garden, keep an eye on our social media for open days, where you can meet the team and find out what’s involved. You can also view current volunteer opportunities on our volunteer system.