We are blessed with seven acres of Thomas Mawson designed gardens that we are entrusted to maintain and develop further. Our Head Gardener, Andrew Bond-Smith (pictured below) joined us in 1998 having originally studied Horticulture at Newton Rigg College in Penrith. He has previous experience working in the United States, but returned to the South Lakes, where his work at Lindeth Fell is very much appreciated by us, and very much admired by our guests.

Jane Roberts is a much loved frequent guest at Lindeth Fell, who has also held several garden courses with us. As part of her PHD, Lineth Fell was used as one of her case studies, which you can read here:


Article from The Lakeland Gardener

Reproduced by kind permission of The Lakeland Gardener, the Journal of the Lakeland Horticultural Society.

Vol 24, No 1, Spring 2019

Author: Pam Martin; Editor: Sybil Maden

The Mawson garden at Lindeth Fell – Members Garden

The Kennedy family bought Lindeth Fell Hotel in June 1984 and it has continued to be a family-run business with different generations working alongside each other. The late Pat Kennedy was the keen gardener among them and he worked hard in and really relished the privilege of caring for this historic garden, but the rest of the family also enjoy being able to live and work in such beautiful surroundings. I visited on one of those peerless bright, sunny, clear, cold, Lakeland days in mid-January and was immediately captivated by the beauty of this place.

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But to understand how this all came about we need to go back to Edwardian times. The house was built by local builder G.H. Pattinson (1907-9) and is typical of many such homes of the period in the Lake District. In 1911 it was rented out to the Ling family. The garden is also dated as 1907, and it would indeed be typical of a Mawson garden that it was conceived and designed as the house was being built so that the site became an holistic concept, blending architecture, planting and the immediate surrounding landscape.

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The original site spread over approximately 30 acres, but in the late 70s the then owner Sir Christopher Scott divided the site into three parcels of land, and sold the house and 6.5 acres to Mr D. Ashton, who converted it into a hotel.  There are wonderful views out from the house and the front garden down towards Windermere and the fells beyond – though the trees, presumably planted by Mawson, do now somewhat restrict the view. However there is no mistaking the fact that this is a Mawson garden. Right from the moment you turn on to the site, the winding drive offers glimpses of terraces rising up towards the house. And in line with Mawson’s embracing of the principles of the Arts and Crafts movement, the craftsmanship that went into the building of stone walls and other landscape features, is clearly evident.

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On the gate pillars are two deer – not original – which are, quite delightfully, not identical, with one lying down and the other standing proud and independent on the opposite side of the drive. And deer formed quite a substantial part of the conversation between the family members because it proves impossible to prevent them coming into the garden where, over the years, they have decimated very many plants – not least the Camellia in the bed close to the house on the west terrace, which is now protected by wire netting to prevent them stripping it completely. And opposite the Camellia there is a low wall covered in ivy which looks as if it has been thoroughly pruned back – but this too is the work of the local deer population.  It is clear however that the family is now fairly relaxed about their wildlife visitors which are also much loved by their guests. However, when Mr Kennedy was alive he planted a new rose bed and protected it with an electric fence to prevent the deer from accessing the tasty fresh pink shoots in spring, but a visiting health and safety officer told him he had to remove it because it had no place in a garden accessible to members of the public!

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Below the terrace is gardener Andrew’s favourite part of the garden – a wide bed bordering the lower terrace, which in the summer is a riot of colour produced now by lavenders, wisterias, asters and some recently introduced hydrangeas. Andrew has been the part time gardener here for 21 years, and sees it as his job to maintain as much of the original planting as he can while making sure that the garden looks good in all four seasons. He commented that the original structural walls are no longer pristine, having a covering of moss and many plants growing in crevices, such as small ferns, Ivy-leaved Toadflax and Maidenhair spleenwort. I think them very beautiful, because they add such character and dignity to the walls. Although there was no floral colour when I visited the garden – there was a huge range of greens and golds in the evergreen backdrop of trees and shrubs – many of which thrive on the acid soils of the central Lakes: rhododendrons – of which there is a wide range of cultivars – azaleas, acers and various conifers including Lawson Cypress (Chamaecyparis  lawsoniana). There are also two large specimen Katsura trees by the Drive (Cercidiphyllum  japonicum) and an unusual Cut-leaved Beech (Fagus sylvatica  asplenifolia). To the south of the house is the tarn – at one time a reservoir – but now purely ornamental. On a clear, perfectly still January day the reflections of the bare skeletons of trees were simply beautiful – and would you believe it, there was a water lily in flower alongside many buds yet to open as we walked across the lawn, still crunchy with frost at 3.30 in the afternoon, to take a photograph of it! This was Mr Kennedy’s favourite part of the garden – this and the meandering stream which runs out of the tarn and down towards the lake. Here he planted hostas and primulas in abundance – which must look magnificent in the spring. As we walked across the crunchy grass Andrew pointed to right and left and helped me to imagine the drifts of daffodils and other spring flowers which fill the view and lift the spirits later in the year.

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Below the lower terrace there used to be a tennis court – part of the original Mawson design – but this is now simply a grassed area bordering on the drive. Between this and the tarn is a croquet lawn much enjoyed by guests of the hotel in the summer. There used to be a very substantial rockery to the north of the house – incorporating a sheer rock face – but this has in part been subsumed into the neighbouring garden which no longer belongs to Lindeth Fell – and in the same area – immediately on the other side of the fence, but tantalisingly out of reach, is an original Mawson summer house – still standing but in very poor condition. The Kennedys tried to buy the bit of land it stands on from their neighbours – but were unsuccessful.

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Behind the house is a small orchard as well as the potting shed, wood store and Andrew’s compost area.

Even in the middle of winter this garden has much to please the eye – indeed one can see clearly the bare bones of the design. I have made myself a firm promise to return in the spring and summer to see it in all its glory.