Small and perfectly formed, Helmsley Walled Garden is a little-known delight in the lively North Yorkshire market town of Helmsley. Framed by a high brick wall and dating to 1758, the gardens are a constantly evolving natural canvas mixing perennials with wildflower meadows, clematis, orchards and much more. For the crew filming the 2020 remake of The Secret Garden, it presented the ideal setting mixing heritage character with a wide variety of garden landscapes. The C4 TV programme Walks with my Dog has also filmed here.
Sitting where it does in the North York Moors National Park and on the outskirts of Helmsley, accessed by a semi-rural track, Helmsley Walled Garden almost feels like an extension of the roving moors. The garden was originally built to provide fruit, vegetables and flowers to the Feversham family who occupied the town’s Duncombe Park estate. After World War One it was leased out and eventually fell into disrepair. It was restored in the 1990s by local Alison Ticehurst, partly to create a space for horticultural therapy, which it still offers today.
Follow the paths that weave and wend among the flowering plants and gently manicured fields and you’ll be transported to the world of Mary Lennox from Francis Hodgson Burnett’s classic novel. You can also stop for a bite to eat at the Vine Cafe, housed inside a large greenhouse and serving up dishes that celebrate fruit from the orchard and veg from the Kitchen Garden.