For us Warley Place Nature Reserve in Essex is the epitome of a hidden treasure! What was once a famous Edwardian garden maintained by 100 gardeners and a beautiful stately home, has now been reclaimed by nature. Take a walk through time and discover what is left of Ellen Willmott’s stunning gardens.
Getting to Warley Place Nature Reserve
The entrance to Warley Place is very unassuming and easy to miss. Through a wooden gate next to the Thatchers Arms is a small track that opens out into a small car park.
Parking is free. Although donations are welcomed in the form of an honesty box as you walk into the reserve.
The address is: Warley Road, Great Warley, Brentwood, CM13 3HU
Best Time to Visit Warley Place Nature Reserve
Warley Place Nature Reserve is open everyday from around 9am – 4pm (check the Essex Wildlife Trust website for accurate timings).
Spring is one one of the best times to visit to see fields full of wild daffodils, vibrant rhododendrons, wild garlic and magnolias. Even if you aren’t a keen gardener yourself, it’s hard to not enjoy and appreciate the flowers and colours all around you.
The History of Warley Place
The gardens were created by passionate horticulturalist Ellen Willmott. At just 24 she undertook her first project of designing and building an Alpine Gorge in the estates gardens.
From 1882 to 1934 Ellen created one of the most famous gardens in Britain, entertaining Royalty, adding to her collection of rare plants and earning the RHS Medal of Honor.
At her death she had spent so much money on her garden she died penniless. Ultimately the estate was sold and demolished. However, the gardens are still there, hidden, but not completely out of view.
Warley Place will surprise, entice and delight you. Go with your camera ready and leave with your imagination sparked!