The Wellington Oak

Combermere Abbey Estate will host a series of Open Garden Afternoon events this summer; a rare chance to enter the gates of this privately-owned historic estate and explore its horticultural splendour.

In celebration of the Bi-Centennial of The Battle of Waterloo this June, and the estate’s link with the Duke of Wellington, there will also be the unique opportunity to purchase a commemorative oak sapling, cultivated from a hearty oak, originally planted by the Duke on his visit to Combermere in 1820.

Wellington visited that year as he was to be godfather to the son of Stapleton Cotton, Viscount Combermere, and his second wife, Caroline - the christening of Wellington Henry, took place on Christmas Day. At the time Wellington was the most famous man in England following his famous victory, and a visitor of such notoriety caused a huge fuss both on the estate and in the local area. So much so, that the Viscount decided to re-model the Abbey and a new Wing was added, with a Ballroom and Dining Room, to impress his military hero and personal friend. The Duke in return, planted a commemorative oak tree to mark his visit. From this tree, 200 oak saplings have been cultivated to celebrate the bi-centennial of Wellington’s victory at The Battle of Waterloo on June 18th.    

The Open Garden Afternoons will take on June 17th, July 22nd, August 26th and September 23rd. Some proceeds from the June event will go to support the charity, Friends of Whitchurch Hospital and their ‘Baby Pod’ appeal. Monies raised from the event will be matched by the charity with the aim of raising funds for the pod, which will transport very ill babies to specialist care at Telford Hospital. The July event will support St Luke’s Cheshire Hospice.

Visitors to the events will enjoy the rare opportunity to explore around 10 acres of the C12th estate’s gardens, it’s beautiful Victorian Walled Gardens and Glasshouse, The Pleasure Garden and The Garden Wood, leading down to the lake, with enchanting views over the water and countryside beyond.

The magnificently restored Glasshouse, designed by Messenger, sits within the Abbey’s fruit tree maze.  The only one of its kind in the world, it is an espaliered labyrinth of redcurrants, gooseberries and over 25 varieties of apple and pear trees, and will provide a wonderful place to enjoy the refreshments including home-made cakes on offer, whilst taking in the sights and sounds of the gardens.

The Abbey’s team of gardeners will be on hand to answer any garden queries and share their tips and anecdotes at these delightfully informal events. A history and map of the gardens, including plants list will be available.

There will be a Plant and Produce Stall too, with the Duke’s two year old potted oak saplings for sale at £10, lovely home-grown plants, home-made fresh fruit juices and preserves, as well as books about the history of the Estate.  

Tickets are priced at £5 each. Gates will open at 1pm and the events will close at 5pm (last entry is at 4pm). There are a limited number of saplings available at each event. Kindly note dogs and picnics are not permitted at these events.

Parking is free of charge.
01948 662880
Combermere Abbey, Whitchurch, Shropshire, SY13 4 AJ