For over fifty years our small village has opened many of its gardens to the public to raise funds for Chelsworth’s Grade 1 listed Church.
It was 1967, and the tiny village of Chelsworth (population less than 140) in the Brett Valley between Constable country and Lavenham, was the first of its kind: the first to open its gardens to the public. Admission to the five gardens was half a-crown (12.5 pence) and a total of £150 was raised – helped by plant sales, and, of course, teas. Water for the teas served in the village Victory Hall was drawn from a standpipe, and the washing-up was achieved in bowls on trestle tables.
Over the past 50+ years the gardens have been opening the last Sunday in June with only two years when the gardens were unable to open. 2001 due to foot and mouth and in 2020 there was a virtual Open Gardens. In 2021 we opened some of the gardens later in the year for the National Garden Scheme.
Please put the date in your diary, we would love to see you.
Today, Open Gardens Day raises several thousand pounds. As well as wandering through more than 20 gardens with tea stops en route, visitors can buy from specialised nurserymen, local food specialists and artisan crafts.
It is a setting that is picture-book English with its centuries old and timbered houses, but over the last half-century the gardens have changed in subtle ways. There used to be more vegetable gardens.
We will leave it to a first time visitor to describe their day...“what a wonderful event the Chelsworth Open Gardens were today. We came and thoroughly enjoyed it - what an array of fabulous gardens in such short distances of each other. We were blown away with the care and loving attention that has been bestowed upon so many gardens, and thrilled at the opportunity that the generous folk of Chelsworth afforded us, to be able to explore their gardens. Thank you very much.”
Open Gardens Day 2024
Those of you who have visited us before will know what a fantastic day it is. With so many gardens open, there will be plenty for everyone to see and to enjoy. In 2024 we hope to be able to provide just as much for you all to see and do and give you a wonderful day out. There will be two venues for refreshments, as well as the Peacock Inn, and there will be a variety of gardening and craft stalls, so there will be something for everyone.
We are hoping that the Barley Brigg Morris Dancers will be joining us again and if you arrive early a vintage tractor rally will be passing through the village around 11.30am.
The entrance this year will be £7.50 per person, and the entry programmes may be bought at any of the three free Car Parks, or from the Tombola Stall opposite the Peacock. We ask for cash please as the mobile signal is poor in the village making the use of card machines difficult.
The programmes are extremely informative, with a village map in the centre. Dogs are welcome to accompany you, but we do ask that they are kept on a lead. As well as the Car Parks, we have a designated hard-standing at a farm, which is kept specifically for coaches, so if you wish to organise a trip, please let us know, contact details below.
We can be found on the B1115 midway between Sudbury and Stowmarket.
We look forward to seeing you on Sunday 30th June. 11 am to 5 pm.
Enquiries to Deborah at firstname.lastname@example.org