A Ramblers Guide to Brockwood Park

By Brian McKillop

One of the gardeners, Mark Apted

Situated on 40 acres of historic estate, the sumptuous grounds of Brockwood Park continue to preserve a stately legacy dating back to the 17th century. Tended by two full-time gardeners, the grounds are maintained throughout the year with the assistance of mature students and visiting guest helpers to the school.

The path from the Main School to the Centre

The parkland, meadows and plantations have been periodically designed over the centuries and offer a striking ornamental patchwork that bewitches at every turn. The unique gardens maintain a number of traditional features typical of a country estate.

The Walled Vegetable Garden

The exquisite walled garden and the aptly named ‘ha- ha’ ditch are two such examples. The former surrounds and protects the vegetable patch wherein are found the nourishing provisions which sustain the students and staff of Brockwood Park School; the latter acts to ensure the unbroken view from school to nearby parkland.

Adopting an organic approach to cultivation, which encourages responsible ecology and sustainable living, the grounds at Brockwood are conserved without the use of chemicals or weed killers. Everything here is hand-tended and heavy machinery is reduced to a minimum. The duties of maintenance follow the rhythmic cycle of the seasons from aerating and scarifying the lawns in spring to trimming and weeding in early summer. With the onset of autumn come the labours of leaf fall and in winter, following pruning, the requirements of landscaping and planting ready the soil for the return of spring.

The Forest Garden

Following the weaving trail of woodchip and pebbled paths one comes upon the beautiful Rose Garden with its central arbour and impressive pergola. Herein is to be found an herbaceous area designed for relaxation and aesthetic appreciation. The Rose Garden is popular with students as a space for learning and dialogue as well as inspiration and silent contemplation. Here it is that Care of the Earth classes are carried out and where one will discover an enchanting forest garden yielding a bountiful harvest of edible fruits. Not far from the Rose Garden is the Sunken Garden, which hosts a wonderful wildlife pond where students and guests may come and meditate amidst some magnificent magnolias.

View of the South Lawn and Brockwood Park School

Located on the eastern side of the school is the South Lawn, spotted with wizened walnut trees and dominated by a large majestic cedar, which has graced the grounds for countless years. Crossing the South Lawn and passing by the neighbouring sports pitches we come upon the peaceful parkland where languid sheep graze and laze among the mighty chestnuts.

Inside the Grove

Beyond this lies the lush hush of the Grove, a thatch of trees and shrubbery carpeted with petals and fallen leaves, a veritable tree museum whose rich grandeur floods and dazzles the urban eye. Various flora and fauna abound, from azaleas and rhododendrons to loping rabbits and busy squirrels. The grounds staff work tirelessly to erect and maintain nests in order to encourage the stay of various birds, from swifts and swallows to homing house martins.

Logs in front of the Plantation
The Plantation area, a later addition to the grounds, is a haven of native plants brought in to complement the plethora of exotics planted in the past.

The Centre apple orchard

Beyond that lies the warm burnished brickwork of the Krishnamurti Centre, an architectural gem surrounded by an apple orchard and a network of nut trees. Here the weary rambler can rest awhile and pause to wonder on the mystery of these marvellous grounds.



Apple trees in front of the Centre Quiet Room

Students talking together in the Rose Garden

The Grove Gate