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Radio 4 Gardeners’ Question Time visits Herstmonceux Castle Estate


Launched in 1947 BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time is without doubt a national institution which attracts listeners the world over. This week’s show, to be first broadcast this Friday and Sunday, was recorded at Herstmonceux Castle earlier this month and sees the panel answering questions from the public whilst exploring the Castle’s 300-acre public Estate.

The panel of horticulture experts, chaired by Peter Gibbs, were hosted by the Castle’s Gardens and Grounds Manager, Guy Lucas, with the location being chosen to showcase some of the work undertaken on the Estate to increase biodiversity and sustainability.

Under Guy’s leadership the team at the Castle have been working hard over the last few years to increase biodiversity on the Estate through a range of methods that are historically and ecologically sensitive to the Castle’s sense of place. The management of the Estate embraces nature and encourages wildlife and where possible the team opt for a method and ethos which favours nature enabling wildlife and all who visit to benefit from the experience.

The overall Estate is 600 acres in size, 300 of which is open to the public, the other 300 being tenanted farmland. The formal gardens themselves are three acres in size forming 11 individual areas; The Castle Courtyard, The Elizabethan Garden, Rose Garden, Shakespeare Garden, Sculpture walk, Lower Garden, Shady Garden, Apothecary Garden, Magic Garden, Long Border and Folly Garden.

Speaking about the experience Guy said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Gardeners’ Question Time to the Castle. It’s such an iconic show in the gardening world and it was an honour to be asked to be part of the recording of the show and to be able to showcase our work on sustainability and biodiversity to both the panel of experts and the listeners.”

The Castle grounds are now closed for the winter but are open on the weekend of 15/16th January with next year’s season starting on 12 February 2022. The Castle continues to operate as a centre for international students studying university level courses at the Bader International Study Centre, founded in 1994 and part of Queen’s University, Canada. For more details about the Castle visit www.herstmonceux-castle.com

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