Head Gardener Tour: Guided tour of Woburn Abbey Gardens Estates gardens manager Martin Towsey

Attendees at June's Awards Presentation will be able to enjoy a complimentary tour of Woburn Abbey's Humphry Repton-designed gardens by the man who has lovingly-restored them over 12 years.

Estates gardens manager Martin Towsey will lead the tour of the 11-hectare site as part of the Custodian Awards’ celebrations.

The gardens date from the 12th century when medicinal herbs were grown and a bowling green laid out for the monks. In 1805 the sixth Duke of Bedford commissioned Humphry Repton to landscape them and employed Sir Jeffrey Wyatville to design the flower houses.

Towsey said Repton’s influence – could be seen far and wide. It was Repton’s connection to the Bedford family which also led to the first London garden squares after Repton was commissioned to design green spaces to complement the town houses built on Bedford Estate land in central London.

Of the Woburn Abbey landscape he added: "It’s the most realised of all Humphry Repton’s Red Books that were created. Most of them have one or two paintings in them but we have 15."

The tour will take in the influence of the Duke and Duchess of Bedford, new collections they introduced to the UK and the restorations at the Bedfordshire property led by Towsey and the current Duchess of Bedford over the past 12 years.

  • Tours will take place at 11.45am and 4.15 pm

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