Hidden Gems: Enchanting gardens at Parcevall Hall in Dales

Parcevall Hall Gardens, Wharfedale.  29 June 2009.'Picture Bruce Rollinson
Parcevall Hall Gardens, Wharfedale. 29 June 2009.'Picture Bruce Rollinson

Sometimes it’s the journey, at other times it’s the destination that offers something special.

But with Parcevall Hall Gardens, both the route from Harrogate and the destination itself are breathtaking.

A true hidden gem in the heart of Wharfedale, these enchanting gardens owe their existence to one of the pioneers of Harrogate’s Harlow Carr Gardens, Sir William Milner (1893-1960), who laid them out from 1927 onwards.

Comprising 24 acres of idyllic formal and woodland gardens, the site rises 200ft up hillside giving wonderful views in every direction.

Visitors can enjoy woodland walks, formal, south facing terraces, a bedrock limestone rock garden and a beautiful rose garden. But those with young children should take note that it’s not the most buggy-friendly of places, with steps and uneven paths throughout.

Sir William, 8th Baronet of Nun Appleton rebuilt the derelict 16th /early 17th century shell of Parcevall Hall, where he lived upon its completion for 30 years. As a gardener, he developed the gardens up to his death, creating a unique garden providing year-round interest.

An extensive range of specialist plants flourish throughout the year, including specimens collected from Western China and the Himalayas, many of Sir William’s hybrid rhododendrons, a collection of old apple varieties, and a wide variety of alpine and woodland plants.

The Hall, which is not open to visitors, is used by the Bradford Diocese as a retreat house and conference centre.

Parcevall Hall Gardens are at Skyreholme, near Appletreewick. Open daily until October 31 from 10am to 6pm. Prices: Adults £6, senior citizens £5 and children under 12 years free. RHS members have free access to the gardens during April, May and October. Dogs on a lead are welcome. Call 01756 720 311 or visit www.parcevallhallgardens.co.uk

Hidden Gems is written in conjunction with Visit Harrogate, the official tourism body for the Harrogate District. Discover more inspiring days out at www. visitharrogate.co.uk