This is  a graphic of one of Hartland Abbeys' many peacocks.

We would love to welcome you to Hartland Abbey and Gardens.

Hartland, Bideford, North Devon. EX39 6DT. UK.
Tel:+44 (0)1237 441264/234 Fax:+44(0)1237 441264 E-mail: hartland+abbey


Hartland Abbey lies across a narrow, sheltered valley which winds its way to the spectacular Atlantic Coast only a mile away. Within a designated ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ visitors may wander freely around the beautiful gardens and grounds which lead to the rocky cove. Peacocks and bantams roam at will whilst donkeys and Black Welsh Mountain sheep graze the Old Deer Park.

Hartland Abbey is the lived-in family home of the Stucley family. Although it was built in the 12th century, remaining as a monastery for 400 years and passing through the female line three times, it has never been sold. Consequently, it contains collections of pictures, furniture and porcelain which have accumulated over many generations. The story of the Abbey mirrors local and national history at every turn. It has a friendly and lived-in atmosphere, so often absent in many of our nation’s historic houses, a point continually remarked upon by those who visit us.

This view of the east facing facade of Hartland Abbey shows its setting within a secluded woodded valley, with views to the west towards the coastline.  On the hill above Hartland Abbey can be seen our delightful folly.

Family Attraction

As parents enjoy the Abbey, children can join in by doing the quiz.    The quiz is educational and fun.  Everyone receives a prize.   We have specifically refrained from offering modern hype - children who visit the Abbey will find Old Fashioned Fun.  The donkeys Nutmeg, Bluebell and Snowdrop, the Black Welsh Mountain sheep, the bantams and of course the peacocks all fascinate children.   The Kitchen Garden shows children how vegetables are grown.  The small winding paths in the woodland gardens are fun to explore, the birds, butterflies and wild flowers make fascinating moments. There is so much to see and do, lots of space to run about and feel free. You will wonder where the time went!


This view of Pog our terrier shows him playing in his favourite spot among the giant gunnera.


The giant ecium, typical of the ones so often found around the Gardens at Hartland Abbey, growing to a height of twenty feet!!
From 1157-1539 the Augustinian canons lived and gardened in this hidden paradise. In the 18thC woodland gardens were created on either side of the Abbey with woodland walks leading to walled gardens, built to be sheltered from the worst of the Atlantic gales. In the late 19th/early 20thC Gertrude Jekyll was a frequent guest at the Abbey and was instrumental in helping Marion, Lady Stucley create the intimate paths and small terraces of the Baronet’s Bog Garden, Victorian Fernery and Camellia Garden.
With the outbreak of World War I in 1914 the garden staff of 15 all but disappeared and the gardens and grounds became overgrown and virtually lost until the 1950s when Sir Dennis and Lady Stucley, both keen and knowledgeable gardeners, with a skeleton staff, started to clear some of the Woodland Gardens and part of the Walled Gardens. They planted much of the large collection of camellias, hydrangeas and eucryphias; they cleared large areas of bamboo and replanted many rhododendrons and azaleas which were removed from Moreton House at Bideford, another Stucley home, now Grenville College. These all thrive today.

In 1996 on the death of Sheila, Lady Stucley the present owners started a programme of more clearing and replanting. Huge areas of bramble and thick undergrowth were cleared and the Victorian Fernery, lost since 1914 reemerged almost unscathed from almost a century of neglect. Many small Jekyll paths and terraces have also been uncovered and are now being replanted. The Walled Gardens had become neglected but in 1997 work started to remove the perennial weeds and in 1998 they were opened as an ongoing project. Now they are flourishing again and visitors will see many exciting new plantings!

The present
A view of one of picturesque woodland walks, showing the hydrangeas at their best.
The woodland gardens are full of spring colour with camellias, rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias and many bulbs all bursting into colour from Christmas onwards in this mild climate. Following these many beautiful hydrangeas and eucryphias start flowering in July, the hydrangeas flowering until the gardens close. The winding paths in the Baronet’s Bog Garden, only recently uncovered from nearly a century of neglect, lead the visitor to huge camellias, Cornish Red rhododendrons, massive gunnera, hostas, primulas, astilbe, zantedeschia(arum lilies), hydrangeas and the Victorian Fernery. A very old acer, twisted and knarled from a century’s growth of ivy and bramble hiding it, stands at the entrance to the Fernery. The ‘Ladies Walk’ through woodland carpeted with wildflowers in spring, leads visitors to the four secret 18thC Walled Gardens. Now being replanted, they contain vegetables and fruit for the house and for sale, many tender and rare plants, summer perennials and shrubs. Echium pininana, growing to 15ft in a good year, flourishes here. It had lain dormant for over ten years until the ground was worked again in 1997! Two large glasshouses were lost in some particularly violent Atlantic gales many years ago but three remain containing tomatoes, geraniums and tender plants for the visitor to see. We would hope one day to rebuild at least one of the larger ones.

This is a view along the valley towards Blackpool mill with its cottage.  You are welcome to walk from the Grounds of Hartland Abbey to this pretty cove.The Walk to the Sea
Visitors are able to reach the wild Atlantic Cove via a woodland walk. This popular walk leads to some of the most spectacular cliff scenery in the British Isles. In spring it is carpeted in bluebells, primroses and many wildflowers. The cliff flowers in April, May and June are beautiful and diverse; they were the subject of ‘BBC Gardeners World’ introduced by Dan Pearson in 1999.



5miles W of Clovelly through Hartland Village en route to Hartland Quay. Turn off A39 - 15 m W of Bideford, 15m N of Bude. M5 Junction27 follow N. Devon link road to Hartland. Nearest airports Exeter and Bristol. Trains to Barnstaple via Exeter. Local bus service from Barnstaple station and Bideford to Hartland village. For walkers enjoying the scenery of the Southwest Coastal Path why not make a visit to the Abbey part of your journey.  
Local accommodation available.

Location map of Hartland Abbey within the north Devon area. Map of the south west peninsula of England, showing the location of Hartland Abbey.

This is  a graphic of one of Hartland Abbeys' many peacocks.

We would love to welcome you to Hartland Abbey and Gardens.

Hartland, Bideford, North Devon. EX39 6DT. UK.
Tel:+44 (0)1237 441264/234 Fax:+44(0)1237 441264 E-mail: hartland+abbey

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