Rural Solutions, and it’s director Roger Tempest, have broken new ground in the development of rural business parks.  At Broughton Hall, their flagship estate in Yorkshire, 40 diverse businesses employing over 500 staff are accommodated in a range of specially converted farm buildings.  

In 2001 we were asked to present a contemporary, low maintenance treatment for the Grade 1 listed estate’s 2-acre Victorian walled garden, which was to become a communal social hub for the staff of the surrounding businesses.  A modern pavilion designed by Michael Hopkins Architects was commissioned for the site to provide a cafeteria and informal meeting rooms.  The pavilion was one of three buildings in Yorkshire given a 2006 RIBA Award, and has also won the 2006 award for Best New Building in a Georgian Context from The Georgian Society.

The land slopes steeply away from the pavilion, which sits prominently at the top of the site.  It was integrated into the garden by recontouring the land below it into a series of undulating mounds, which refer to the profiles of the surrounding Dales.

Yew buttress hedges form divisions within the large open site, breaking up the space and forming distinct enclosed areas which serve to contain the soft, massed naturalistic perennial plantings and provide a more intimate experience of them for the visitor.  

From the building the plantings are shielded by the hedges, to be revealed as you move around the garden.  From the bottom of the garden the soft, mounds of planting partially conceal the building from view, while the landforms create a sculptural plinth upon which the pavilion sits.

Beside the building dry-stone wall enclosures provide private seating areas.  Traditionally used locally for herding sheep and built by local craftsmen, each enclosure is planted with a different variety of apple, reflecting the common
practice of planting a tree within them to shelter livestock.  The surrounding planting beds contain herbs, vegetables, soft fruit, espalier trained fruit trees and sixteen 100 year old vines – a reference to the walled garden’s original function and a source of fresh produce for the cafeteria.

Images © Nicola Browne & Dan Pearson Studio

Broughton Hall
2001 - 2008
Client: Roger Tempest/Rural Solutions
2 acre walled garden and estate masterplan

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