12 June 2020

Seek Wakehurst's silent spots

Take advantage of the quieter days at Wakehurst with the best spots for some peace and contemplation.

By Ed Ikin

Coronation meadow

Where do you find peace in the bustling, populous south east of England?

Lockdown made that easier than usual, with no aeroplanes overhead and the motorway roar dwindled into a whisper. 

This new normal offers us moments for quiet contemplation; an important part of our day. 

Wakehurst's 535 acres ensures plenty of secluded spaces for mindful moments, minutes or even hours. I'll share my favourite locations here, with some easy to reach spots and some that require an intrepid spirit and a little bit of fitness to explore. 

Coronation Meadow at Wakehurst
Coronation Meadow, Ellen McHale © RBG Kew

Lay on the grassy banks of the Pleasaunce

Below the Walled Garden, behind a towering yew hedge, is a sheltered sun trap, filled with rare plants.

Exotic shrubs from Australia and Chile scent the air in the summer, and there’s a gently sloping grassy bank for sitting or lying down to watch the clouds float by.

The perfect pit stop for those on a shorter trip.

Walled Garden
Walled Garden, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

Watch the clouds go by in Bloomers Valley

A flower-rich meadow, a wooded ridge, planted with exotic trees with native woodland beyond.

Bloomers Valley embodies ‘Kew’s wild botanic garden’ like nowhere else.

I’ll come down here for 10 minutes and watch the breeze send ripples of motion through the grasses or listen to the ravens and buzzards gliding overhead.

Bloomers Valley at Wakehurst
Bloomers Valley Wakehurst

Sit amongst the flowers in the vast Coronation Meadow

Wakehurst’s most epic view: a broad cinematic sweep of High Weald landscape, is the backdrop for Coronation Meadow, our insect haven.

In summer, clouds of butterflies whirl over Coronation Meadow, feeding on the nectar-rich flowers. Come and sit by the meadow's edge and be mesmerised by their dancing movement.

Coronation Meadow at Wakehurst
Coronation Meadow, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

Spot the wildlife in the Wetlands

Far away from our busy centre, nature takes control in Wakehurst’s wetlands, a place of dragonflies, bats and hawkmoths.

The sound of flowing water is the loudest noise down here, gaze out across Ardingly reservoir, fringed with tall trees and watch closely for the electric blue flash of kingfishers.

View of the Boardwalk across the Wetlands
The Wetlands Jim Holden © RBG Kew

Discover the ancient Rock Walk

A shady, rugged, mysterious space and part of Wakehurst’s historic ‘sublime’ designed landscape, Rock Walk is always peaceful and secretive.

The mossy sandstone cliffs lining rock walk are moist to the touch, even in summer, and the ancient, gnarled roots of yew trees twist and loom above your head as you explore.

Tree roots, Rock Walk, Wakehurst
Holly tree roots, (Ilex aquifolium) on Rock Walk

Take delight in the Iris Dell 

Take advantage of our quiet period right now and perch yourself in the fairy-land like glory of the magical Iris Dell. 

With over 70 species of flowers unfurling a sprinkle of blues and purple colours around you, close your eyes and let the water features wash your stress away. 

The Iris Dell in full bloom
Iris Dell © RBG Kew
Iris Dell, Wakehurst

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