Brantwood Gardener

(Permanent full-time post)


We are looking for an experienced Gardener to join the small team on a historic estate at Brantwood, Coniston on a full-time, permanent basis.  This role would suit a well-rounded gardener with at least 2-years’ experience in publicly accessible historic gardens and estates. Brantwood is John Ruskin’s former home, now a museum surrounded by a stunning 250 acre estate comprising of shoreline, ornamental gardens with specialist horticultural areas, native planting, woodland gardens, farmland, semi-natural ancient woodland, heath and fell with documented nationally rare species. Gardens and managed historic landscape make up around 40 acres of the total acreage. This provides a diverse & stimulating opportunity for a creative and sustainably minded horticulturist.


The successful candidate needs to be physically fit in order to manage the steep, uneven terrain – the garden and estate stretch from shoreline to fell-top on a steep incline. The specialist areas include herbaceous borders, native herbs & wild flowers, kitchen gardening, cut flowers, plant propagation, a fern collection, alpines, orchards and trained fruit, extensive coppice, extensive shrub planting, ancient trees, climbers, houseplants and a small formal allegorical garden. The successful candidate will be able to develop their specialisation and focus on one or more aspects of the garden in time but will still be required to assist in other areas as necessary. An amount of additional in-house training will be offered where possible.


Applicants for this vacancy should have demonstrable experience in a range of horticultural areas and desire to expand their range of skills. Experience in chemical-free gardening and plant pest/disease control is required as the garden is largely run organically.  The position is an excellent opportunity to work under an enthusiastic Head Gardener within a small team of staff and volunteers at a time of changing perspectives within the organisation with more focus being given to the gardens and estate. The successful applicant will be employed initially for a probationary period lasting six months, they will be confirmed in post subject to satisfactory completion of the probationary period.


Job Description:

Typical duties – An enthusiasm to support our small team in any aspect of estate work is essential however typical duties may include, but will not be limited to the following:

  • General garden maintenance and management of all plantings including specialist horticultural areas e.g. weeding, mulching, staking, deadheading, clearing spent foliage etc
  • Sowing and planting including seeds, bulbs, trees etc.
  • Maintenance pruning and renovation pruning of shrubs.
  • Assisting with greenhouse management and maintenance
  • Weed control through organic means including bracken and bramble removal
  • Assisting with composting and waste disposal etc
  • Pest and disease control through organic methods
  • Provision of potted plants & cut flower arrangements for events & displays
  • Contributing to developing plans for a plant sales offer.
  • Houseplant maintenance
  • Seasonal tasks e.g. watering, clearing leaves, unblocking drains etc
  • Harvesting and processing of fruit and vegetables
  • Contributing to re-design plans
  • Management of habitats for biodiversity & rare species
  • Other grounds maintenance as necessary e.g. turf care, hedge trimming, fencing, walling, drainage, dead-hedging, hedge-laying.

Person Specification:

Essential Skills:

  • Good plant knowledge
  • Extensive practical experience
  • A range of horticultural skills
  • Physically able to cope with manual work and steep uneven terrain
  • Ability to work alone and in groups
  • Good written and verbal communication skills
  • A desire to learn about Ruskin
  • A keen aesthetic eye & tidy working practices
  • Willingness to work outside in poor weather
  • Ability to work within H&S guidelines
  • Commitment to environmentally sustainable practices
  • RHS Level 2 Principles of Horticulture or equivalent
  • Experience of safe operation of common garden machinery


Desirable Skills:

  • Tractor driving experience
  • Confidence representing the estate e.g. guided tours
  • Knowledge of Ruskin’s work and principles
  • An interest in garden history
  • Experience of working with the public
  • Experience of managing groups of volunteers
  • experience of tool care


Brantwood is rurally located with the closest bus stop a brisk walk away, as such we encourage non-driving applicants to carefully consider their ability to access this location at all times of year, in all weathers.

Brantwood is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes applications from diverse candidates.

This role is offered PAYE at £19,760 to £20,800 per annum, depending on experience, for a 40hr week.

Standard workdays are negotiable (e.g. Mon-Fri) but must be between 8.30am – 5pm, occasional days outside of your normal hours may be necessary.

The Brantwood Trust participates in the Government Auto Enrolment Pension Scheme

Annual Leave entitlement is 28 days holiday per annum (including Bank Holidays).

The post is permanent subject to successful completion of a 6 month probationary period.

This role may be offered as a job-share, please state your interest in this in your cover letter.

Due to the uniqueness of our estate, the interview must be conducted in person, at Brantwood. We anticipate interviewing on Monday 08/11/21 (TBC). Please state whether you are able to attend on these dates in your cover letter.

Applications are to comprise of a CV and a detailed cover letter stating how you meet the essential and desirable criteria and why you are interested in working at Brantwood.

Please direct applications and questions to Bethan Pettitt, Head Gardener, at

Deadline for applications: 12pm (midday) Friday 29/10/21


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