I first glimpsed Hillfield Gardens in London Road, Gloucester whilst on the bus from Cheltenham to Gloucester. An intriguing site the Gardens were originally created for the grounds of a Victorian house, built in 1867-9 in an elaborate and stylish Italianate style to replace an earlier house, built in 1826, known as Woodbine Hill.
The house itself is now Gloucester City Council offices, following a variety of different uses, mainly residential, over the years. It is still possible to enjoy the gardens, typically Victorian in style, which became public in 1933 and are now a well founded woodland walk and rose garden. And there are still several interesting structures to be found there. First is the chancel of St Mary Magdalene Chapel, all that now remains of the former leper hospital of St Mary Magdelene, built in the 12th century.
There are also two historic monuments, ‘Scriven’s Conduit’ (left) and ‘The King’s Board’ (below) which adjoin the perimeter path and are visible from the London Road.
Incongruous in such a relatively modern setting, the monuments are valued locally as an integral part of the public park. The general condition of the park has also been much improved recently. Overgrown shrubbery areas have been cut back, and the enclosed rose garden opened up to encourage public use, while an overgrown rockery has been cleared and replanted. Council contractors maintain the flower beds while a ‘Friends’ group oversees the planting of shrubs, ferns, perennials and bulbs in the cleared areas. Hillfield Gardens is a gem of a site, a small haven of peace on the outskirts of a bustling city.
Just a note, Hillfield House is now being returned to a private House and was occupied by the first family to live there in 100 years last August 2014.
Hello and thank you for visiting my blog. It is good to hear that Hillfield will once again be occupied. It’s a lovely old building in need of a little TLC. Are the gardens still open to the public? I don’t get down that way as much any more but it would be nice to know the gardens were still there to be enjoyed!
Hi, yes the gardens are still a public park. The house will take a few years of TLC however inside its starting to look like the home it should be. The new railings have been erected around the front and we are hoping that the car park to the front will soon be a lovely gravel driveway. Hopefully next year I can start planting outside, then it will start to loose the institutional feel from the outside. If you manage to pass by over Christmas the tower is lit by the lights of our Christmas tree and looks wonderful. We had lots of positive comments last year, I hope people enjoy it this year too.