Holehird House (Groves Home)

Holehird, the gardens of the Lakeland Horticultural Society located just off the Patterdale (Windermere to Troutbeck) road as it ascends towards Kirkstone. These spectacular gardens, which includes the national collection of Hydrangeas, are maintained entirely by volunteers. The house is a Cheshire Home. Originally they were part of the Holehird estate that was originally built up by the Lingered family in the early/mid 19th century. In 1865 it was bought by John MacMillan Dunlop, a Yorkshire industrialist. Following his death and a long family wrangle the house and grounds were sold on again to William Grimble Groves, a Manchester brewer. It has famous associations. For the two summers of 1889 & 1895 Beatrix Potter stayed here with her family when her father rented the house. In 1945 the entire estate was given to Westmorland County Council by Henry Leigh Groves JP for the benefit of the people of the county.

holehird2In an isolated part of the estate, now in private ownership, there is a collection of small memorials to the family pets of the Groves family. Among these is a stone to 'Cobby', one of the estate's horses that was conscripted into the war effort in 1914/16. The inscription reads; 'Cobby', Killed at Ypres, Whilst Serving His, Country, April 1915.

Cobby, Ypres 1915Holehird is a demonstration garden managed by the Lakeland Horticultural Society. It is within the grounds of the Holehird Estate, administered by Cumbria County Council. The house is leased as a nursing home. The house and the paths surrounding it are not open to the public, but the gardens that lie in front, though not part of the LHS gardens are open to visitors.

The garden of nearly five acres is set on a hillside, with some of the best views in Lakeland. It has a great diversity of plants that grow well in this area; there are alpine and heather beds and a collection of rhododendrons and azaleas. The walled garden is mostly herbaceous. There are the National collections of astilbes, polystichum ferns and hydrangeas. A Gardener's garden.

The house you see today was designed by J.S. Crowther, architect of Manchester Cathedral, in 1865. The walled garden was built in 1870, and enlarged in 1898 by the renowned landscape architect Thomas Mawson to house vines, peach trees and a valuable collection of orchids. The house was owned by the Groves family from 1897 to 1945, when the estate was given to the people of Windermere. They also gave the bed of Windermere lake in 1939.

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