A Victorian woodland garden

Duration:Full Day
Activity:Picnic spots

High Close Garden is a fantastic place to go for a quiet family picnic. The garden covers eleven acres and was originally planted in the 1860s by Edward Balme, with exotic conifers from North America as well a variety of Rhododendrons. Once there were nine gardeners and a full time path sweeper to tend this lovely place. Now most of the work is carried out by National Trust Rangers and volunteers, who are slowly bringing this beautiful garden back to life. As you walk round, take a seat on the many stone “Courting seats” set in to the walls or stop at the bottom of the path for a picnic, where the views open up across Loughrigg tarn and Elterwater. I love taking my children into the garden – we usually take a big picnic and relax. Walking through the garden and down into the wood, we look for wildlife tracks as there is always something to see – sometimes a tuft of hair where badgers have pushed under a gate or a birds nest being built.

Further Information

Planning your visit:

The villages of Grasmere and Elterwater are within ten minutes drive of High Close Garden. In Grasmere you will find numerous cafés, restaurants, pubs and the world famous Gingerbread shop. There is also the National Trust Information Centre opposite the church. In Elterwater, you will find the Britannia Inn. At Chapel Stile there is Wainwrights Inn and Brambles café above the shop. In High Close garden the paths are mixture of gravel and grass and are suitable for off road buggies but unsuitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs. There are no public toilets at the garden – nearest ones are at Elterwater Village opposite the Brittania Inn. Further toilets are located in Ambleside and Grasmere. Nearest petrol station is in Ambleside.

How to get here: From Coniston take the A593 (Ambleside road) to Skelwith bridge; continue for a further 200m, then take the next left turn for High Close and head up the hill until you see a white painted stone sign to Grasmere & Langdale, turn left and High Close garden is on the left.

From Ambleside take the A593 towards Coniston; turn right at the High Close sign before Skelwith bridge head up the hill until you see a white painted stone sign to Grasmere & Langdale, turn left and High Close garden is on the left. High Close garden is easily found using OS map 7 South Lakes Area (NY 33867 05289). Parking is limited, some parking is available in the layby on the road leading up to High Close.

By Neil Winder

Area Ranger-Grasmere and Great Langdale. Growing up in the Lakes naturally progressed to working in this beautiful area. After studying Countryside management at Newton Rigg College Penrith I spent time volunteering for the RSPB at Leighton Moss Silverdale. These experiences lead to employment with the National Trust whom I’ve been with for over 14 years now. I’ve worked on the upland footpath team carrying out footpath repairs in the area and as Warden working on countryside estate work like walling, fencing and hedge laying. As Area Ranger I’m Responsible for planning and coordinating general operations over 7800 Hectares of countryside portfolio. I love the outdoors, getting out side in my work and also spending time walking with my family. I’ve been known to enjoy bursts of trail running when my energy levels are high. I also have a passion for electronic music; I was a DJ for many years and hold a qualification in computer music production.

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How to get here

High Close, Grasmere

Elterwater LA22 9

NY 336 052

Get Directions

By Bus and on foot: Walkers can make a day of it, by taking the Stagecoach 599 or 555 bus from Kendal, Windermere or Ambleside to White Moss Common, then up Loughrigg Terrace. Turn left onto Red Bank Lane, then take the right fork to High Close (40 minutes)

Telephone: 0871 200 22 33