Autumn lockdown means Zoom classes and free entry at beloved garden near Market Drayton, but donations are still welcome

A beautiful garden estate is opening its gates for free throughout the new lockdown to give members of the public a peaceful place to get their daily autumnal exercise.

Enjoying the autumn colours with her dog Bess is Kathryn Robey, curator of the Dorothy Clive Garden near Market Drayton
Enjoying the autumn colours with her dog Bess is Kathryn Robey, curator of the Dorothy Clive Garden near Market Drayton

The Dorothy Clive Garden, a 12-acre charitable garden trust near Market Drayton, has closed down its tearoom and gift shop in line with coronavirus guidelines from the Government but the garden itself is open every day from 10am to 3pm.

The gardens are helped along largely by volunteers, and donation boxes will still be available for visitors to contribute if they can.

Garden curator Kathryn Robey said that her team is doing what it can to keep in touch with all its regular supporters, including planning a regular, fun afternoon Zoom quiz on Mondays.

"We are hoping to do it all through the winter," she said.

"Mondays can be difficult at the best of times.

"Our charitable remit is to engage and entertain. We are open to requests, we will do what people ask us to do as far as we can."

After the first national lockdown the garden had seen good footfall, despite lower income.

"We have been busy, and we sold more memberships. The problem is we couldn't have our weddings and our fundraising events.

"We've had a few grants and we have used the furlough scheme, but obviously we are missing the weddings.

"We are coming through it, it's just a bit sad we've had to close down."

Head gardener Zdenek Valkoun-Walker has been leading online gardening masterclasses over Zoom this month, with a workshop on winter container planting to follow on November 22.

Tickets are £10 per person. To book a place, call 01630 647237 or email info@dorothyclivegarden.co.uk.

Kathryn said: "People need the garden; people come here for lots of different reasons and for memories.

"If people just want to walk the dogs here and go home again, that is fine."

Learn more about the garden, upcoming events and membership options online at dorothyclivegarden.co.uk/.

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