Yew Gardens

Yew Gardens

The Stable Block

The Stable Block

Packwood House is a timber-framed Tudor manor house near Lapworth, Warwickshire. Owned by the National Trust since 1941, the house is a Grade I listed building. It has a wealth of tapestries and fine furniture, and is known for the garden of yews.

The house began as a modest timber-framed farmhouse constructed for John Fetherston between 1556 and 1560. The last member of the Fetherston family died in 1876. In 1904 the house was purchased by Birmingham industrialist Alfred Ash. It was inherited by Graham Baron Ash (Baron in this case being a name not a title) in 1925, who spent the following two decades creating a house of Tudor character. He purchased an extensive collection of 16th- and 17th-century furniture, some obtained from nearby Baddesley Clinton.

The great barn of the farm was converted into a Tudor-style hall with sprung floor for dancing, and was connected to the main house by the addition of a Long Gallery in 1931. In 1941, Ash donated the house and gardens to the National Trust in memory of his parents but continued to live in the house until 1947 when he moved to Wingfield Castle

The famous Yew Garden containing over 100 trees was laid out in the mid-17th century by John Fetherston, the lawyer. The clipped yews are supposed to represent "The Sermon on the Mount". Twelve great yews are known as the "Apostles" and the four big specimens in the middle are 'The Evangelists'. A tight spiral path lined with box hedges climbs a hummock named "The Mount". The single yew that crowns the summit is known as "The Master". The smaller yew trees are called "The Multitude" and were planted in the 19th century to replace an orchard.

The Yew Garden is entered by raised steps and a wrought-iron gate. The garden path follows an avenue of trees, which leads up a spiral hill where a wooden seat is placed beneath a yew tree. This vantage point provides views of the house and the Yew Garden. Some of the yews at Packwood are taller than 50 feet (15 m). The soil on the estate has a high level of clay, which is detrimental to the trees during wet periods. As a result, parts of the garden are often closed to the public while restoration work is undertaken.

Between 1924 and 1932 Baron Ash transformed Packwood. His driving ambition, to rid the old house of any trace of its Georgian and Victorian inheritance, was in tune with the fashion of the times. The classical style of the 18th century and the dark, heavily furnished interiors of Victoria’s reign were deeply unfashionable in inter-war England. Baron Ash aimed to create his own private world and a stage set against which he could live the life of an English country gentleman and where many came to enjoy his primly perfect version of country house hospitality.

  • "I am proceeding with the utmost caution. I hope that my efforts will not provide the future with an object lesson of what not to do in restoring an old house!" - Baron Ash, c.1931
  • Externally one of the biggest changes was the replacement of all the Georgian Gothick sashes with leaded casements in the Jacobean style. This transformed the place entirely and immediately lent a far more antique appearance to each façade.

    Baron Ash felt that the perfect country house of Old England had to have a Great Hall and fortunately a large cow barn lay close to the manor house, divided from it by only a couple of hundred yards. With the addition of a full-height bay window, the installation of a sprung dancing floor and the conversion of the hay rack as a balustrade for a minstrels’ gallery, Baron Ash’s Great Hall was born.

    The 1920s and 1930s saw much re-use of features from demolished historic buildings. The fireplace and its plaster overmantel came from a vintner’s shop in Stratford, the magnificent hall table was bought from Baddesley Clinton and some of the carved heads on the corbels supporting the roof beams are copied from originals in France. The entrance hall was re-modelled, a new staircase was constructed and modern comforts were not ignored. Vacuum cleaners were purchased to keep the house clean, a water purifier was installed and running hot and cold water was supplied en suite to all four bedrooms.

    To furnish his perfect country house, Baron Ash had to find the perfect combination of antique textiles, polished wood, faded gold and extraordinary objects which would convey his ideal of timeless Englishness. Freshly cut flowers were of the greatest importance, to the extent that he made the provision of them mandatory on handing over Packwood to the Trust in 1941. Sunlight filtering through ancient stained glass panes in newly-minted windows perfectly harmonised the colours and textures in his beautifully restored country house.

    Parties, concerts and follies at Packwood were legendary. In the era of the Jazz Age invitations were sent as ragtime lyrics and Christmas was always the excuse for a vast gathering with quantities of excellent food and drink. The visit of the glamourous socialite, Prince George Chavchavadze, caused ripples in local society. He was a White Russian, as the supporters of the deposed Russian monarchy were known and his recital on the late 17th Century spinet in the Great Hall at Packwood was the hot ticket of the season in 1931. He signed the instrument, which is now in the Drawing Room.

    The crowning event of Baron Ash’s social career was in 1927 when Queen Mary visited Packwood for tea. Despite a torrential downpour at the moment of the Queen’s arrival, all went remarkably well. The visit was memorialised in the preserved cup and saucer from which the Queen took tea and the renaming of the room to which she retired to rest. Concerts and plays in the Great Hall and in the gardens were a recurring feature and were known collectively as ‘Follies’. Theatrical productions on the terrace were the occasion of great parties and further artistic endeavours in the visitors’ books. The floor in the Great Hall was sprung especially for dancing – take a twirl on your next visit.


    ** – Visiting – **

    Country Life once stated that 'England would be richer if it possessed a greater number of gardens like those of Packwood'. With its grand topiary garden, abundant mingled style borders and bountiful kitchen garden - you have to agree. Come and explore this Warwickshire gem...

    The Fetherston family of Packwood were gentleman farmers who were wealthy enough to farm for pleasure as well as income. The NT aim at Packwood has been to re-create what was a vital part of the Fetherston family's self-sufficient home here in the 1700s.

    Pretty and practical. In the 1700s kitchen gardens weren’t yet the large-scale operations they would become under the Victorians. These gardens were a combination of beauty and commodity, humble in scale but designed to be enjoyed, not hidden from sight. With immaculate pathways, dipping pools and shady benches to sit and relax the Fetherstons would have enjoyed the sights, sounds and smells of their delightful kitchen garden.

    Quality over quantity. Kitchen gardens provided abundant resources including less familiar herbs and flowers which grew amongst the vegetables. These herbs and flowers were used as flavourings and dyes, sedatives and disinfectants and also medicine for people and animals alike. More than just a vegetable plot. Taking their inspiration from a survey of the house carried out in 1723 the team at Packwood took the opportunity to regenerate this forgotten area of Packwood’s gardens. They aim to blend traditional practices of producing fresh, home-grown food which is often used in the Garden Kitchen Café with encouraging biodiversity and experimenting with new exotic plants.

    Packwood’s Memorial orchard comes into its own in autumn. The trees you will see here have been planted in memory of loved ones lost. In autumn however these trees provide a rich harvest of fruit, ripe and ready to become part of their home-made meals in the Garden Kitchen Café.

    You won’t just see apples here though. Keep an eye out for their pears, damsons, quinces, plums, cherries and medlars. All the fruit was chosen because it represented local Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire varieties which might have grown at Packwood during the early part of the twentieth century. Local schools are also invited to pick some of the fruits, which are then taken to their harvest festivals. It is a beautiful area to have a wander through on a blustery autumn day and perhaps to remember one of your loved ones fondly.

    ** – A Circular Walk – **

    Come and enjoy an easy stroll around Packwood House, going through the park and up to the church. The walk is classified as Easy and is three miles long. It should take about one and a half hours. Free car park, toilets, refreshments and shop available at Packwood House. Dogs welcome on leads on public footpaths, but not permitted within the property.

    Start: Packwood House car park.

  • 1. Turn left out of the car park and walk along Packwood Lane with the house on your right, until you reach a junction with Rising Lane.
  • Packwood House. The interiors at Packwood are the creation of Graham Baron Ash. Restoring the house in the 1920s, he bought furniture, tapestries and whole interiors from other houses being demolished at the time.
  • 2. At the junction, take the footpath on the right and follow the waymarked posts across the fields to the lane.
  • 3. Cross the lane to join a footpath on the opposite side, following this along a track. Before the farmhouse, turn left to continue along the footpath taking care to walk to the right of the field and over the stile hidden in a hedgerow. Walk across fields to the road, keeping the pond to your left.
  • 4. Turn right along the road for a short way before turning right along Glasshouse Lane, signposted for Packwood.
  • 5. Follow this, passing Fetherston House on the right. Ignore the first footpath on the right and continue on to the next, just after Packwood Hall.
  • 6. Follow this footpath around the Hall to St Giles' Church.
  • Church sign shows you the way. There are lovely views across the field from here and a spell of easy walking along the track.
  • 7. Walk to the far right of the churchyard to a kissing gate towards the end of the row of cottages, signed the Millenium Way. Head diagonally left through the gap in the hedge way and head straight onto Packwood Lane.
  • St Giles' Church, Packwood. The church dates from the late-13th century. The tower was built at the expense of Nicholas Brome, Lord of Baddesley Clinton Manor, who discovered the priest 'chockinge his wife under ye chinne', and murdered him on the spot. As a penance, after pardons from the Pope and the King, he financed the towers at Packwood and Baddesley churches.
  • 8. Turn right along the lane, and where the road forks take the footpath on the left, back across the park to join Chestnut Avenue.
  • 9. Turn right along the Avenue to take you back to the front of the house.
  • End: Packwood House car park. You made it!

    ** – Packwood House to Baddesley Clinton – **

    A beautiful walk through the Arden countryside, taking in the Stratford-upon-Avon canal and two tranquil Warwickshire properties. Cross the moat to see what lies inside Baddesley Clinton estate. Packwood was transformed by Graham Baron Ash in the 1920s from a 17th-century farmhouse into a dream-like vision of a Tudor country home, whilst just over the fields Baddesley Clinton is a secluded, intimate estate which was home to the Ferrers family for 500 years.

    Classified as Moderate, the walk is five miles long and should take about two and a half hours. Car park, toilets, refreshments and shop available at Packwood House and Baddesley Clinton. Dogs on leads on public footpaths; dogs are not permitted within the properties.

    Start: Packwood Lane, on the Causeway.

  • 1. Turn left out of the car park and walk along Packwood Lane with the house on your right, to reach the junction with Rising Lane.
  • Packwood House. Packwood was originally built as a farmhouse at the end of the 16th century, and lived in by the Fetherston family for 350 years. Bought by Alfred Ash in 1905, it was his son Graham Baron Ash who restored the house, gardens and interiors.
  • 2. Turn right at the junction, walking along Rising Lane until you reach a fork in the road.
  • 3. At the fork, take the left hand lane and turn left over a canal bridge. Cross the road and on the far side of the bridge, take the footpath down to the towpath.
  • 4. Turn right along the towpath, following the Stratford-upon-Avon canal past a series of locks. Shortly after the canal goes under the railway is Kingswood Junction - where the South Stratford Canal meets the Grand Union Canal. Turn left over the bridge and carry on along the towpath.
  • 5. At bridge 65 take the steps up to the road, turn right along the road, past the Navigation Inn and take the footpath on the left signed for the Heart of England Way.
  • 6. Follow this along a drive, through a stable yard and across the fields to meet the drive at Baddesley Clinton. The house and gardens are well worth a visit, and the restaurant serves hot and cold lunches, teas and a selection of homemade cakes.
  • Baddesley Clinton. Baddesley was a refuge for persecuted Catholics during the 16th century. The secluded estate continued to provide a haven for its Victorian residents, a group of four artists and writers.
  • 7. To visit Baddesley, turn right and follow the drive to the car park and visitor reception. The walk continues left along the drive, passing Badgers' Dell on the right just before the drive curves to the left.
  • Badgers' Dell. This is a small quarry and is where the Arden Sandstone used to build the house and nearby church was excavated.
  • 8. At the end of the drive, cross the road and walk up the lane opposite. Look out for a public footpath sign on the left and follow the path across the fields, going through a series of kissing gates to rejoin the road at a canal bridge.
  • 9. Turn right along the road, taking a footpath on the right, just after the railway bridge. Follow this down a drive and to the right along a hedge lined path which circles round to the left.
  • 10. Emerge onto a lane and take the footpath signed opposite, heading up the field with the hedge on your left to meet a road.
  • 11. Turn right along the road, taking a footpath on the left by the sign for Packwood House. Follow the avenue back to Packwood, crossing over Two Pits Pool and onto Chestnut Avenue from where you get a beautiful view of the house.
  • Two Pits Pool and Chestnut Avenue. The pools are the result of clay extraction to make bricks. The avenue was planted in the 19th century and makes a dramatic end to the walk.
  • End: Packwood House, on the Causeway. You made it!

  • ** – Packwood Welly Walk – **

    There are lots of things to see along the way and if you are with children some nice distractions, such as building dens in two of the four play glades, woodland hoopla, tree xylophone, sitting down and picnicking on log tables and chairs (that you can arrange yourself!).

    This is a dog friendly walk, classified as Easy. The walk is about one mile long and should take between half an hour and an hour. There is designated mobility parking in the main car park, Drop-off point, Adapted toilet by car park and in the in cafe and refreshments from the Garden Kitchen Cafe.

    Start: Packwood car park.

  • 1. Start your walk after coming through reception, turn left and walk along the York stone and crushed brick path. Shortly you will come to a finger post that points in the direction of the start of the Welly Walk, look out for the large wooden archway on the edge of the meadow.
  • 2. At the entrance to the Welly Walk turn left and follow the pathway. After about a couple of minutes walk you will come to the first of four play glades. This is a good place to sit and rest, build a den or simply linger and listen to the birds.
  • 3. Continue on the path to glade two, when wet the going gets a little tougher, why not try and see if you are good at balancing on our woodland stepping stones to avoid the puddles!
  • 4. Continue along the path, past the woodland shelter until the footpath branches after some wooden stepping stones. Keep to the right where the ferns are growing and soon after you will pass through two gate entrances.
  • 5. Just after exiting through the second gate you will come to play glade three where the family can engage in some friendly competition with the woodland hoopla or perhaps be tuneful on the tree xylophone.
  • The tree xylophone. All ages will enjoy making music here.
  • 6. After another short leisurely stroll you come to play glade four and the end of the Welly Walk. This is a great place to stop and rest or have a picnic. At this point you are about halfway round the walk.
  • The oak avenue. If the children are feeling tired you can walk back along the chestnut avenue to your left just after you exit the Welly Walk. This will be a short cut back to the house and car park.
  • 7. Passing the two ponds on your right you enter Gorse Wood over a narrow wooden bridge.
  • 8. Following the path to the woodland edge on your left you will discover a circular 'deer brash' hedge made by the Ranger and his volunteers to protect a newly planted hazel coppice. Passing through the gate you enter the Gorse Woodland extension. This area opens out to give lovely views of the Warwickshire countryside.
  • 9. Follow the wooden sign over the board walk and continue as the pathway slopes down to two gateways breaking through a recently planted hedgerow. Once past the second gate follow the direction of the wooden sign and skirt the field past the large fallen oak to the wooden sign and gate beyond to the left.
  • 10. As you exit the gate you will skip over a small ‘ditch’ bridge. You are now in Bow Meadow with views back to the car park and café. Please follow sign to your left and in the distance you will see a small group of oak trees near an old fence boundary. Head for this hugging the edge of the field with hedgerow and later woodland to your left hand side. After about five minutes you will come back to the halfway point of your walk and rediscover the oak avenue on your right.
  • 11. Head back along the avenue towards the house. You will find a short avenue of horse chestnuts some of which have come to the end of their life. On a summers evening sitting on some of the old tree stumps and just taking in the scenery is sheer magic and really gives you an idea of the extent of the Packwood estate.
  • Garden Kitchen cafe. In the winter the new café with plumes of smoke rising from its chimney is very enticing indeed. Maybe you’ll fancy popping in after your walk for a well-earned cup of tea and a piece of home-made cake! Just head for the familiar finger post that started you on your walk.
  • End: Packwood car park. You made it!

  • ** – Facilities – **


  • • Shop selling locally sourced products.
  • • Refreshments from the Garden Kitchen Cafe.
  • • Free parking, 100 yards.
  • • Garden plants for sale, many grown in their own nursery.
  • • Toilet.
  • • Dogs on leads welcome in the car park, public footpaths across the estate and café terrace. Assistance dogs only in gardens.
  • • The café at Packwood is located beyond the pay barrier. National Trust members will need to show their membership card and non-members will need to purchase a ticket to the property.
  • Family:-

  • • Baby-changing facilities.
  • • They have some Hippy Chicks for loan.
  • • Children's guide.
  • • Children's quiz/trail.
  • • Family Easter trail.
  • Access:-

  • • Designated mobility parking in main car park.
  • • Drop-off point.
  • • Adapted toilet by car park and in cafe.
  • • Braille guide.
  • • Sensory experience.
  • • Steps to entrance of building. Alternative accessible entrance. Two wheelchairs. Ground floor has steps. Great Hall can be viewed from Long Gallery doorway. Many stairs with handrails to other floors.
  • • Partly accessible grounds, grass and loose gravel paths, some steps and terraces.
  • • Wheelchairs available from the New Build.
  • • Please be aware that certain pathways may be difficult for those in wheelchairs.
  • For the full NT Access Statement, please click here.

    Kitchen Garden

    Kitchen Garden


    Location : Packwood House, Packwood Lane, Lapworth, Warwickshire, B94 6AT

    Transport: Lapworth (National Rail) 1½ miles OR Birmingham International (National Rail) then bus. Bus routes: Birmingham to Stratford-upon-Avon, alight Hockley Heath, 1¾ miles.

    Opening Times House & Gardens: Daily, 11:00 to 17:00; 5th November - Feb 15th until 15:00.

    Opening Times Cafe and Park: Daily, 09:00 to 18:00; 5th November - Feb 15th until 16:00.

    Tickets : Adult $11.45;  Children £5.70.

    Tickets Winter (November through Feb. 15th) : Adult $7.60;  Children £3.80.

    Tel: 01564 782024