Walled kitchen gardens in West Oxfordshire

  • Asthall Manor - looking towards house

    Asthall Manor - looking towards house

    Asthall Manor - looking towards house

  • Arts and Crafts building

    Arts and Crafts building

    Arts and Crafts building

  • 1st edn OS (surveyed 1876-80)

    1st edn OS (surveyed 1876-80)

    1st edn OS (surveyed 1876-80)

Asthall Manor

Historical context
Asthall Manor was built in the early 17th century, although a house has been on the site since the 13th century.   The present manor is a vernacular two-storey Jacobean house built in local Costwold limestone.  The garden, not including the walled garden, covers 2.4 ha and was designed by Julian and Isobel Bannerman for the present owners. Famously the house was the home of the Mitford family from 1919 to 1926. C E Bateman carried out extensions to the house at this time and may also have designed the walled garden buildings.

Walled Kitchen Garden
The garden is 0.43 ha and is on the opposite side of the road to the house.  It is square in shape, with walls on all sides, built of coursed limestone rubble.  There is no evidence on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd edn OS maps that this was a garden, so it is probable that it originated in the 20th century during the occupation of the manor by the Redesdale and the Mitford family. 

Two buildings in the walled garden echo social activities in the Mitfords era. The slate-roofed Arts and Crafts building contains antique farm implements and machinery, while the adjacent nearly derelict two-roomed summer house has evidence of shelving, cupboards and a stove.

The small stone pen on the east wall of the garden, could have been for animals and may have origins in an earlier and more agricultural use of the area. There is a water point in the centre north part of the garden.

Current use
Currently the walled garden is laid to grass with less than a quarter separated for fruit and vegetables, in the north west corner. There is a modern reproduction Victorian glasshouse.  The north wall has evidence of fruit tree training and an older specimen pear tree amongst some new planting. 

Special features
The Arts and Crafts building, the derelict summerhouse and the walled animal pen. 

Designation status
None for the walled garden.

Degree of completeness

The garden walls are complete, however the planting, frameyard and glasshouses are no longer extant.

Ownership and access
Privately owned.  Occasionally open with NGS

Sources of information
Otwell, Gordon (1999). Literary Strolls Around the Cotswolds and the Forest of Dean. Sigma Leisure. p. 71
Unpublished site survey undertaken by volunteers with Oxfordshire Gardens Trust, April 2013
Map reproduced by permission the National Library of Scotland - Maps

Name of district
West Oxfordshire

Grid reference
SP 28653 11277