The Walled Gardens are at present closed due to safety concerns and await restoration. Funding for restoration, commencing with the walls following a recent feasibility study (funded by the Blackdown Hills AONB administered Sustainable Development Fund), is being sought. Vegetation close to the walls is being cut back to enable the condition of the walls to be accurately assessed.
This is an extract from the First Edition Ordnance Survey Map 1890 (with thanks to the Ordnance Survey and the Somerset Studies Library):
The 121' long glasshouse for fruit (apricots, figs, nectarines, peaches) ran along the wall from the northern corner of the walled gardens.
One of the Ventilators of the former 121' long Leanto Glasshouse.
The other glasshouses close to the eastern corner included a 48' long vinery. The flights of steps shown still lead from the drive, between the two gardens and up to the top level where the largest glasshouse and a terraced walkway were sited.
The Ordnance Survey had a policy of not showing most private garden paths on later maps, so the above and its reduced Six Inch to the Mile counterpart are the only maps known to depict the path layout in the walled gardens. The glasshouses, a glazed frame and two potting and storage buildings are shown on later maps. All had largely collapsed by the late 1980's.
The Otterhead Estate Trust has access to the 1864, 1904, 1919 and 1938 particulars of sale for The Otterhead Estate and these include some details of plants grown in the glasshouses at those times.
The Estate Trust has a reasonable knowledge of the reserve from the late 1980's onwards and would be grateful if anyone with memories of the glasshouses when standing and/or of the various plants, including shrubs and fruit, growing in the Walled Gardens or indeed in the other gardens at Otterhead, especially at earlier times, would email:
The Otterhead Estate Trust Company Ltd.
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