The Gardens at Brantwood

Welcome to Brantwood’s gardens, to ensure the safety of all staff and visitors please make sure to follow all instructions and signage during your visit.

From the car park there are entrances to the upper gardens and on the other side of the road to the harbour walk . We have designed two routes into the upper gardens, on the one hand is the Ruskin route – a steeper route beginning from the zig-zaggy up the purgatorial mount, and the gentler Severn route starting from the maple walk.

The Lower Gardens

The lower garden’s perform an important task at Brantwood and always have as they connect the house to the lake. The lake was both an important utility and amenity in Ruskin’s time. It was Ruskin’s cousin Joan Severn who created the harbour walk which is a pleasant and gentle way down to the lake.

The Zig-Zaggy

The most important garden Ruskin created at Brantwood, designed as an entrance to the whole estate. It is a mythological garden based on Dante’s Divine Comedy which Ruskin admired hugely. Particularly based on the idea of the Purgatorial Mount on the passage of the soul to paradise. Paradise for Ruskin was a state where man and nature are working in harmony with one another; in order to do that you first had to get rid of your worldly sins hence each of the terraces of the Zig-Zaggy are designed to represent one of the seven deadly sins.

The High Walk

This spectacular and genteel garden was situated to provide a vista across the lake to the Old Man of Coniston, providing easy access to some of the greatest scenery of the Lake District. Having been lost for a century after the death of it’s creator Joan Severn, the rediscovery of this garden in the 1990s changed both the character and balance of the gardens at Brantwood, providing an elegant contrast to Ruskin’s more wild style of garden.

The Professors’ Garden

The Professors’ Garden was a working garden and the one most likely for Ruskin to be found in. The limited area provided a place of tranquillity and peace of which he desperately needed as well as an opportunity to experiment with the cultivation and display of wild, ornamental and edible plants. The garden was planned and managed by Ruskin and is the place where he grew flowers, fruits and herbs suitable for a local cottager’s garden – arranging them in such a way to provide examples of the cultivation of food for the soul, as well as the bodies, of the local labourers.

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