Consall Hall Gardens closed
Consall Hall Landscape Gardens in the Staffordshire Moorlands had tens of thousands of visitors after opening in 2005. But owner William Podmore has had to shut them for good after seeing visitor numbers go down
Consall Hall Landscape Gardens, near Wetley Rocks in the Staffordshire Moorlands, was once described by Gardeners' World presenter Carol Klein as "the jewel in the crown of Staffordshire gardens".
William Podmore inherited the former mining land from his parents, and spent the last 50 years of his life converting the old pit site into a breathtaking new creation with views over lakes, woodland and ruined castles. He still works in his dream landscape despite being ninety years old.
Close for good
But only four years after opening to the public - and attracting tens of thousands of visitors - he says it simply got too expensive to run.
"I’m hoping somebody will take it on and run it as an open garden," he told BBC Radio Stoke. "But unfortunately, I’ve been in touch with a lot of people and I cant find anyone at the moment who’ll take that sort of work on."
William Podmore OBE
The Consall Hall grounds extend over 70 acres, and include six lakes, landscaped gardens and packhorse bridges, all of which have to be maintained.
Meanwhile, Mr Podmore has seen visitor numbers fall to around 6 thousand people from 9 thousand just 2 years ago. With the current economic crisis and not as many people paying to come through the gate, money has become tight.
"It is a very hard decision. I hesitated for a long time because I knew how much people appreciated it," says Mr Podmore. "All the money I’ve spent has come out of my own pocket. I’ve not received any money by way of grants, and I’m having to pay tax on top of the expense of opening it to the public."
The last day came on October 28th 2009.
About the Gardens
When William Podmore inherited Consall Hall gardens in 1958, his vision was to create a series of 'living growing portraits' of wildlife, trees and plants which would change with the seasons and the weather.
The large pit banks, where more than 2 thousand miners used to work, were removed, and new roads and pathways across the land were built.
Dams were constructed to create six lakes, next to which were built summer-houses and bridges. A huge variety of plants, shrubs and trees were planted to encourage all forms of wildlife, insects and birds into the gardens.
He now intends to be buried there. A large gravestone not far from the house marks the spot where his wife is buried. His own name is already inscribed on there too.
last updated: 02/11/2009 at 17:30