Building on the Montefiore legacy in the gardens of Worth Park

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Being an experienced and an enthusiastic Head Gardener of Worth Park for the last four years has been a pleasure, not only discovering its rich history as a garden designed by James Pulham and Son and its connections to the Montefiore and Rothschild families, but also, its overseeing the restoration of classical Grade II Italianate gardens, topiary and the Camelia walkway.

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At Worth Park we do more than keep heritage alive. The gardens need to adapt to climate change and be more sustainable while  key heritage features present on site must be given appropriate prominence and recognition, especially in terms of landscapes and views.

The planting schemes must be diverse and of a quality that contribute positively to the site’s heritage character, and at the same time include biodiversity and environmental conservation features to complement this historic site for future generations to come.

This includes overflowing herbaceous borders that not only give visual delight to any visitor when they see the array of flower colours within them but are also pollinator friendly, providing an essential home and food for them, as well as meadow areas with long grass and wild flowers, an arboretum which is growing year by year - to the point that we have now planted 92 new trees of about 10–14 new species/ cultivars or more in less than three years. The park is also zero pesticide and peat free. We recycle nearly 80% or more green waste on site and because of better plant choices and good soil management we have reduced watering on site by nearly 90%.

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All this makes Worth Park an acknowledged exemplar of environmental sustainability as it demonstrates and rigorously follows numerous conservation, sustainability,  and climate change resilience-supporting practices that would make any Montefiore and Rothschild jealous!

Indeed, these gardens do have a history and now they also have a future that complements this heritage rather than detracts from it through a programme of environmentally-beneficial developments.

The park has become a rich tapestry of history and ecological correctness for all to enjoy today and tomorrow.


Stephen Peters

Head Gardener, Worth Park 

Worth Park was a grand property which belonged to successive generations of the Montefiore family.  In 1847, the original farmhouse suffered a devastating fire that destroyed the whole property and its contents. A new brick Worth Park House was built between 1850 - 1856 on the footprint of the old house. In the 1880s the house was demolished and a new house in the Italianate style built.  The Worth Park History Society are engaged in researching the history of this little-known property and have recently opened a visitor centre.

Read more about Worth Park's award-winning conservation work here