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Rydal Hall

Rydal Hall belongs to the Carlisle Diocese of the Anglican Church. The gardens, originally designed by Thomas Mawson, are a unique example of Edwardian gardening in the heart of the Lake District. There are 18 mainly northern heritage apple varieties in the orchard.

Rydal Hall belongs to the Carlisle Diocese of the Anglican Church. The Hall, a beautiful old building set in parkland and woodland with attractive countryside views, is used for conferences and courses. The gardens, originally designed by Thomas Mawson, are a unique example of Edwardian gardening in the heart of the Lake District. After decades of post-war decline, the gardens were restored to their former glory in a major restoration project started in autumn 2005. Records show that an old walled kitchen garden has supplied fresh produce to the house from the 19th century if not earlier. Part of this area has now been restored as a Community Vegetable Garden, within which an orchard was established at the end of 2006. There are 18 mainly northern heritage apple varieties in the orchard, grafted onto MM106 rootstocks and grown as half-standards spaced 10’ apart in three rows. They are vigorous trees grown in an organic regime with only a little scab, but inevitably some canker. The soil is fairly well drained loam on a slope, and the trees have been fed with pelleted chicken manure. In addition there are rare breed Maran hens in the orchard which reduce pest and weed competition whilst returning more nutrient. Rabbits and deer in the surrounding wood are exscluded by means of a deer fence. Unfortunately it is totally ineffective against the invading Japanese Knotweed. There are two old apple trees, variety unknown, presumably remnants of the original orchard, one inside and one outside the new orchard and a walnut tree. The adjoining vegetable garden contains more fruit. A Keswick Codlin has been fan-trained against a garden shed at the entrance (below), an Ecclestone Pippin stands just outside the orchard, a Bardsey further up, while an Ellison’s Orange (above) and a Bramley have been fan-trained against the back wall. There are also a pear tree, a damson and two apricots, plus hazelnuts, blackcurrants, redcurrants, gooseberries and strawberries. The glasshouse against the back wall contains a vine, fig and Royal George nectarine, all fruiting. Much of the maintenance work such as pruning etc is done by volunteers and Ian welcomes any new volunteers as there is plenty of work to do, in a very attractive location. The Rydal Hall orchard is an interesting opportunity to see how a diverse range of old apple varieties prosper in a challenging environment. The 18 varieties in the orchard are: Lord Derby, Golden Noble, Edward VII, Charles Ross, Millicent Barnes, Egremont Russet, Kings Acre Pippin, Grenadier, Annie Elizabeth, Darcy Spice, Peasgood’s Nonesuch, Newton Wonder, Blenheim Orange, Scotch Bridget, Burr Knot, Pitmaston Pineapple, Withington Welter, Yellow Ingestrie. Rydal Hall Gardens are open free of charge, 365 days a year,10am to 4.30pm. Website www.rydalhall.org Location: one mile north of Ambleside on A591, take right hand turning marked “Rydal Hall” on blue sign. The Hall is first on right, through wrought iron gates. Park car within grounds, walk toward front door, then take steps up on left, go across road, through gate and up path for 100yds through wood. Path opens into field, now used as campsite, you will see Rydal Community Vegetable Garden through gate on right. Go through gate and follow short path on right down to Orchard through another gate. Alternatively it is possible to park closer to the orchard by continuing by car up the road past the main gates for another 200yds until you see a gate on right marked “Rydal Hall - campsite users only”. Park inside gate and walk across field to Garden now facing you. Postcode for Satnav: LA22 9LX

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