Wortley Hall Gardens are situated seven miles north west of Sheffield, sited on an east facing slope with wonderful views out over the vale of Wosborough and beyond. Wortley Park was first mentioned in the Domesday Book, but a residence was not built on the present site until the sixteenth century when it became fashionable to live within your deer park, although unfortunately there is no evidence of what the gardens looked like at this time. The current Hall was built from the mid eighteenth century and features a beautiful Palladian south front. The Hall is now Grade II* listed and many of the architectural garden features are Grade II listed.
The new gardens that were created for this building are attributed to Lady Caroline Creighton, who came to live in the Hall from 1800. The 26 acre garden features many different areas:The south front is formal, with terracing, stone steps, urns, topiary and a fountain. A symmetrical parterre was once the feature directly below the south front terrace, but this was covered with lawn for ease of maintenance some time after the First World War.
What were once neat little topiary trees, after many years of neglect, are now kept in check in the shape of huge balls. The large Rhododendrons gives a blast of spring colour as a backdrop for the south front and a collection of Hosta and Iris varieties can also be found here.
As you move down into the sunken garden you pass between two Rose beds filled with old English varieties that fill the air with a delicate sweet scent. The sunken garden houses a collection of dwarf Rhododendron and Azalea as well as Camelia and Tulips making it a perfect spot in the spring. By the summertime a central pool and edging of Lavender, and the climbing Roses and Clematis create a wealth of colour and scent. A 100metre long herbaceous border follows the line of the Kitchen Garden giving colour and interest from early spring to late autumn with both old and new varieties of plants. Leading from this is a double Lavender border that becomes a sea of blue buzzing with the sound of bumble and honey bees throughout the summer months. At the end of this border is a huge hollow Oak tree aged at approximately 450 years old. Next to the Oak is a large ornamental fish pond with marginal planting on either end giving a habitat for a variety of wildlife. A channel from the pond leads to the Ice House, an essential element for any Victorian country house.
The pleasure grounds, after many years of restoration, is a maze of paths leading through a wonderful collection of nineteenth century trees. The grounds are no longer choked by Rhododendron Pontecum and new tree varieties are are being planted. In the spring the floor is a carpet of Snow Drops followed by Daffodils and then Bluebells. The three acre Kitchen Garden has recently been brought back to life by Heeley City Farm and is growing organic fruit and vegetables. These are available from a nearby farm shop and from Heeley City Farm, and on selected days throughout the year in the kitchen garden. For opening times and events information contact Wortley Hall on 0114 2882100 or visitwww.wortleyhall.org.uk