Ditchley Park - Lions' Gate Walled Gardens
Ditchley Park is a large rural estate situated two miles east of Charlbury. The mansion house, dating from c.1722, was built for the Second Earl of Litchfield to a design by the architect James Gibbs. Since 1958 it has been managed by the Ditchley Foundation as an international conference centre.
The service yard to the north-east of the mansion is approached via a pair of gate piers surmounted by stone lions – hence its name of ‘Lion Gate Court’ – and a short straight driveway. Flanking this driveway are two rectangular walled gardens, enclosed by substantial walls built in coursed limestone and surmounted by ashlar copings. It is likely that this layout is contemporary with the main house. Another, much larger walled garden, is situated about 400 meters to the north. The larger of the pair of gardens encloses an area of 400 square meters, the smaller one 200 square meters. The former has a central circular dipping pond, with a decorative stone edging and small wooden gazebo in one corner. The smaller garden is more functional in character, with two slate-roofed sheds abutting the corners nearest the mansion. Both gardens are in low level use, partly for vegetable growing, and each has a modern greenhouse.
Ditchley Park is included in the Historic England Register of Historic Parks and Gardens at Grade II*. The Lion Court, walled gardens and Lion Gate are included in the Historic England Register of Historic Parks and Gardens at Grade II. Further information is available in the National Heritage List for England.
Degree of completeness
The perimeter walls are complete, and in generally good condition.
Not open to the public, except by special arrangement.
Unpublished survey undertaken by volunteers with the Oxfordshire Gardens Trust, April 2013.
Sources of information