One of Yorkshire’s ‘hidden gems’ has been shortlisted for the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards 2020. Shortlisted in the Garden of the Year category, Himalayan Gardens and Sculpture Park is the only Yorkshire entry up against gardens in Warwickshire, Wales, Northumberland and the Isle of Scilly.
The 45 acres of stunning woodland and garden with three lakes and an arboretum, features over 1,400 varieties of rhododendron and more than 80 striking contemporary sculptures in the landscape.
After being put forward by Cause UK, the gardens featured on BBC Countryfile’s autumn special last year. Cause UK also secured Professor Professor Jurgen Denecke from Leeds University to talk about the science of the changing colour of the autumn leaves.
Operations Manager Naomi Hutchinson said: “The Countryfile TV producers and film crew spent an afternoon at the gardens, so they have experienced our unique and beautiful attraction first-hand. Our team, including our talented gardeners, have worked hard to make it a go-to destination. In recent years, we’ve installed a popular tearoom, children’s playground, and an events programme such as artist workshops, and each year we add new sculptures to our internationally recognised art collection.”
The gardens have attracted a celebrity Patron, Joanna Lumley, who described it as “a slice of heaven” and a place of solace in our stressful lives to find “happiness and peace.”
The attraction was donated in 2012 to a Charitable Trust, The Hutts Foundation, by Peter and Caroline Roberts. It aims to advance the arts, horticulture and the environment, including the cultivation of rare and endangered plants.
The microclimate of the valley makes it fertile ground for the rare blue poppy, alongside the North’s largest collection of rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolias. The gardens feature a Pagoda, summerhouse, Norse Hut, contemplation circle and Himalayan Shelter.
Winners of the Yorkshire in Bloom Tourist Attraction Award in 2018 and 2019 and Best Business Award 2019, judges described it as, “a truly beautiful and amazing place.”
Previously, the gardens in Grewelthorpe near Ripon, had limited seasonal opening times. Due to demand, 2020 will see the gardens open from 10 April until 1 November.
The winner of the BBC Countryfile Awards is decided by a public vote. Now in its eight year, it recognises the best of the British Countryside. To vote, go to www.countryfile.com/awards. Online voting closes on Friday 28th February 2020 at 11:59pm.
See this stunning drone footage of the gardens here https://www.himalayangarden.com/garden-sculpture-park/virtual-garden-tour/
Pic shows: Will Roberts who runs the gardens, gardener David Dollimore, operations manager Naomi Hutchinson and BBC Countryfile presenter, Steve Brown.