Lake District Gardens

The Gardens and Estate

Brantwood has unique and beautiful mountainside gardens, set in a 250 acre wood estate with spectacular views over Consiton Water and the fells beyond.

‘Brant’ is Norse for steep, and Brantwood’s steep woods were first worked by Norse invaders in the ninth century. With a stunning diversity of flora and fauna, these ancient semi-natural woodlands comprise half the 250 acre estate. Elsewhere the estate ranges from lakeshore meadows to high, open fell. The estate is a paradise for walkers of all abilities, from low level rambles to energetic hikes to Crag Head.  A range of trails thread the estate and a trail guide is available in the shop.

At the Estate’s heart are eight unique and beautiful gardens which continue the many radical experiments in land management and horticulture which Ruskin began. They are broadly divided into three areas – the northern and southern gardens, which involve some walking uphill, and the lower gardens which are suitable for all.  Dogs on a lead are allowed in the gardens.

The Zig Zaggy

Contemporary Garden

The Zig-Zaggy is based upon designs first sketched by Ruskin 130 years ago, and is said to represent Dante’s Purgatorial Mount.

Fully realised today in contemporary form, it allows you to begin your tour of the gardens by making an allegorical journey to Paradise!

The High Walk

Cumbria Gardens

The High Walk was created by Ruskin’s cousin, Joan Severn, to provide a spectacular viewing terrace of some of the finest Lake District scenery.

Its neatly mown levels, colour and scent contrast with the Maple Walk below and the rugged fells beyond.

Herb Garden

The Hortus Inclusus

The Hortus Inclusus is an enclosed garden of British native herbs, laid out in the form of a medieval manuscript.
It explores the uses of over 200 herbs by habitat according to medicinal, culinary, cosmetic and aesthetic uses.

Azaleas Garden

The Harbour Walk

The Harbour Walk was laid out by Ruskin’s cousin, Joan Severn, as a formal walk, framed by sweetly scented azaleas that still bloom today.

It borders the apple orchard grown particularly for its flowers, and the wild daffodil field beloved of Ruskin.

Herbaceous Garden


The Trellis Walk, with its fine herbaceous planting, traces the historical significance of plants in British culture, from medieval times, via William Morris and the Victorians, to the present day.

Ruskins Favourite Garden


The Professor’s Garden was Ruskin’s favourite garden. It represented the lowly mountain crofter’s plot and was dedicated to plants which were good for both body and soul.

In it is the bee ‘penthouse’ and above is the slate throne of Ruskin’s Seat.


Lake District Fern Garden

The Fern Garden is a maze of over 250 different types of British native ferns which thrive in the woodland climate of Brantwood.

The garden surrounds the ice house which was built in a cave excavated by local miners.


Cumbrian Moorland Garden

The Moorland Garden was the site of a visionary experiment in upland agriculture, long since abandoned. It features terraces fashioned from the natural forms of the land and two reservoirs.

Today it is presented as a blank canvas – a garden of questions, not flowers.

Brantwood is an independent registered charity - The Brantwood Trust Coniston Cumbria LA21 8AD Telephone: 015394 41396 Fax: 015394 41263