Happy 2014 from a very wet Gardens & Grounds of Herstmonceux Castle.

We hope the start to the year has been a positive one and the extreme wind and rainfall we’ve had here in the South East hasn’t affected you too much. Our grounds have suffered slightly in these strong winds, with a lot of fallen trees and general damage but the team are working hard to make everything safe and presentable for our 2014 season.

The Estate team are working on a self sustaining compost area which will give us the ability to not only produce compost but make varieties which suit different areas of our gardens. This will also save us buying in and we can use the extra money we have saved in other areas.

To start our pond development the Estate team will be renovating Snipe Pond which is located just behind the Folly. Snipe pond is quite large but very overgrown and hidden. We will start here as this is the first area that water gathers before making its way towards the moat. We also have Folly Pond and Red Lilly Pond before the moat but these will be looked at further down the line.

As we look to improve the vistas around our gardens and grounds the Estate Team will be clearing areas around the rear of the Folly and the Folly Lake. The cleared areas will be ideal photo opportunities and we will provide benches so you can take the weight off your feet. The lake is such a calm and tranquil area so it makes perfect sense to give you more of a chance to enjoy it.

Events this coming spring include the Sport Relief Mile on Sunday 23rd March, Carnival of the Animals by Primavera Chamber Ensemble and Bird of Prey and Archery Day on Sunday 25th May. Visit our events page for further information.

The Visitor Centre is currently being fitted with updated signage to make sure we are presenting the history of the castle and grounds clearly and concisely. We are looking forward to people’s reactions as they take in the new displays.

We have also launched a Castle Quiz for our younger visitors so please spread the word as we are looking forward to seeing families taking part and children having fun while learning about nature, history and our Gardens & Grounds.

Chestnuts Tea Room is going to receive a bit of TLC in 2014. As well as a lick of paint, the main thing visitors will notice is a refreshed menu including a savoury afternoon tea, as well as the popular cream tea, cakes, homemade soups and ploughman’s. We will also be stocking St George’s produce ranging from piccalillis, jams and chutneys. All locally made and will feature on the menu, as well as being available to purchase. Keeping the local theme, Long Man Best Bitter will be on sale for those wanting a refreshing pint.

Families wanting to make the most of the British sunshine can purchase picnics that can be taken on your walk around our grounds and enjoyed at your leisure. Children participating in the Castle Quiz will collect their sticker and special gift in Chestnuts, simply show your completed form and a member of staff will give you your prize. Lastly we are introducing a Loyalty Scheme to reward regular customers. Make sure you collect yours early so you can make the most of the rewards.

Have a great New Year and we look forward to seeing you after we re-open again on 12th April 2014.

Thank you from everyone at the Gardens & Grounds of Herstmonceux Castle.