Mature and beautifully maintained, elegant yet homely, the island gardens at Crow’s Hall include everything from ‘cottagey’ borders full of summer colour to heritage roses, smooth lawns and neat box hedging. They are set within a 16th century moat and afford panoramic views of rolling Suffolk countryside, gracing three sides of the historic redbrick manor house.
The layout and planting of Crow’s Hall island gardens are the work of award-winning and leading garden designer Lady Xa Tollemache – a near neighbour in Suffolk terms, who lives just a smooth river valley or two away. Outside the main moat, there are two further moats, or old ‘stew ponds’ surrounding former orchards which are now wild meadows.
All aspects of the Hall, the garden and countryside provide a wonderful backdrop for your event photographs.
Both inspired by the past and complementing recent restoration work on the manor house, Crow’s Hall island gardens were designed as a charming set of ‘rooms’ to enhance the statement made by a remarkable 16th century redbrick manor house home. They combine at times a formal layout with informal planting.
Cross the historic bridge onto Crow’s Hall island and the Tudor redbrick gateway leads through a lavender-sweet courtyard to a formal garden with colourful, box-hedged beds and decorative fountained pool, or into a narrow lawned allée to a sunken, grassed amphitheatre with topiary features. Other ‘rooms’ include a Tudor-style miniature knot garden, herb garden, potager, a marquee lawn and moat-side jetty terraces.
With its circular paths, towering lavenders, captivating wildlife sculpture and stone-flagged terrace, Crow’s Hall courtyard garden is a magnificent outdoor space to receive guests.
Originally the site of the south wing of the great hall, it is a sunny, sheltered spot which can feel relaxed and quite cottagey.
There is plenty of colourful character to enjoy here, courtesy of the raised-beds filled with lavender and herb-related plants such as santolina, nepeta, rosemary and salvia, together with clumps of iris, allium and euphorbia, all backed by lilies and delphiniums.
Complementing colour also comes from the brick and pale stone paths, a fine magnolia, long-established acer and climbing pink roses which scale the redbrick wall of the Hall.
This yew-hedged garden has as its focus a delightful raised decorative pool and fountain surrounded by four box-hedged beds.
The cottagey palette of plants continues on here from the courtyard to create a formal, yet informal garden space full of interest.
Peonies, allium, lilies, delphiniums give plenty of colourful summer height and there is an extra gentle nod to the noble, historic nature of the surroundings with the inclusion of roses such as Winchester Cathedral and William Shakespeare.
Located by the moat at the far end of the island gardens, the stage-side of the Crow’s Hall sunken semi-circular garden amphitheatre has the rolling Suffolk countryside as an unrivalled dramatic backdrop.
It’s a stunning place for our occasional outdoor concerts and theatrical events and a firm favourite with couples looking for the ideal outdoor spot to hold a wedding blessing or speeches.
Crow’s Hall outdoor amphitheatre is grassed, has central steps in brick and a curved brick retaining wall fronted by a low-cut box hedge. Topiary features enhance this unique moat-side garden ceremony or reception area.
Located at the top of a gentle rise, the vistas created within Crow’s Hall gardens extend out across the truly beautiful rolling Suffolk countryside, looking down into the valley of the River Deben which has its source nearby.
The island gardens are open and sunny, with mature trees and buildings providing areas of shade and protection from any breeze. Beyond the moat, grassy paddocks just perfect for the location of marquees and glamping tents lead to a number of ‘mini-moats’, most probably the remains of historic stew ponds where fish were ‘stored’ or ‘grown’ ready for the cooking pot.
Surrounded by the greens and golden yellows of crops, pastures, wildflower meadows and pockets of woodland, Crow’s Hall gardens feel both elevated and elegant, yet totally at home – naturally.
A walk towards Crow’s Hall along the half-mile-long avenue of 300-year-old double-planted oaks gives more than just an amazing sense of anticipation. The deep grass verges are dotted with little wildflower gems. Woodpeckers dive across the path, thick hedgerows are all a-twitter and ducks paddle across the ancient stew ponds.
By the Hall, visiting swans glide around the moat, where moorhens nest up by banks full of primroses or edges yellow with flag irises.
Crow’s Hall estate colours itself naturally beautiful with the different seasons – it is home to all sorts of fauna and flora from voles to red valerian, as well as a unique welcoming committee of four-legged friends.