The Pines Garden

PUBLISHED: 17:05 30 July 2010 | UPDATED: 16:09 20 February 2013

Coastal plants

Coastal plants

Set adjacent to the chalk cliffs and beach at St Margaret's Bay, the Pines garden is a six-acre, arboretum-style garden. Since 2002, it has been run organically, which involves working in balance with natural systems, composting, recycling and usi...

Set adjacent to the chalk cliffs and beach at St Margaret's Bay, the Pines garden is a six-acre, arboretum-style garden. Since 2002, it has been run organically, which involves working in balance with natural systems, composting, recycling and using natural predators to control pests.

Parkland expanses, a tranquil lake, reed bed, grass labyrinth, an organic kitchen garden, caf, roundhouse picnic shelter and seating dotted around to take in the views make this a relaxing and educational experience.

The underlying theme of the garden is the exploration of old and new models for sustainable land management and lifestyles. Special family events and courses designed to spread the word about ecological living are held in the chalk-built conference centre, complete with a grass-covered roof, and at the sister environmental study centre Rippledown.

Now owned by the Bay Trust, an education and environmental charity, the founder of the trust, philanthropist and developer Fred Cleary, developed the garden from 1979. In its past this expanse of chalk downland had been used during the Napoleonic Wars as a training site for the soldiers.

Transforming the derelict field of brambles was taken on with enthusiasm by Fred. His intention from the outset was to create an open, park-like garden for the public to enjoy. The design included planting an array of low-maintenance trees and shrubs, the creation of the lake and cascade and paths for strolling with places to stop and take in the views.

One rare addition was the personal gift from Fred Cleary of the famous statue of Winston Churchill by Oscar Nemon that stands appropriately looking out towards the sea. Alistair Gould, Fred's grandson, has continued the theme of caring for the environment as the garden has evolved.

Opening times

The Pines Garden

St Margaret's Bay CT15 6DZ

All year, except Christmas Day,

10am to 5pm

Caf open 10am to 4pm,

Wed-Sun and Bank Holidays

The National Gardens Scheme day: 31 Aug, 10am to 5pm

Admission 3, children 50p

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