Shropshire Star

Garden that has been fundraising for over 40 years, reopens this weekend

A manor garden near Bridgnorth is throwing its gates open once again, after over 40 years of raising money for charity.

Owner Lynda Clarke looking at a rare clematits at Ruthall Manor, in Ditton Priors, which will be open this weekend for charity

Ruthall Manor's garden in Ditton Prior has been described by the National Garden Scheme as one that visitors will "never tire of revisiting again and again".

Chock full of unusual plants and interesting ideas, the garden's owners, Lynda and Gerald Clarke, have been welcoming guests for over 40 years.

Over the decades they have seen thousands of visitors in a tradition that stretches back to a time when the entrance fee was just 30 pence.

The first sunny Saturday the couple opened, the garden raised over £50.

Lynda Clarke, pictured at Ruthall Manor, in Ditton Priors, near Bridgnorth

"It was totally different then," Mrs Clarke, 87, explained. "Back in the 80s if you raised £50 it was a lot of money. It was the equivalent of four or five hundred pounds."

As well as a superb selection of plants, the garden boasts artefacts and sculptural pieces of work found throughout the borders - all nestled in a stunning country setting.

Over the years the garden has provided a haven for those looking for a temporary escape.

Mrs Clarke explained: "I do find that a lot of people come who are recently bereaved, I talk with them and it has become a sort of a service.

"I've found a lot of people come here and find peace in the garden, many of them say how much better they feel for being here."

Many years of hard work maintaining the land has brought peace to the couple too, who enjoy watching nature enjoy the spoils of their labour.

Mrs Clarke said: "We don't have much in the way of normal beds, it's mostly grown over with paths through the shrubs - there's something at every turn.

"There's so many shrubs there's lots of places for the birds, and we have a hedgehog now. We've even got curlews down the bottom."

Since the launch of the National Garden Scheme in the early 1900s, more than £67 million has been donated to nursing and health charities through the scheme, with £3.11 million donated in 2022.

Ruthall Manor's garden will be open for visitors this Saturday and Sunday from 12.30pm to 5.30pm.

Entrance is £5, with homemade teas available until 4.30pm.