The grounds of Beeleigh Abbey include three acres of spacious and peaceful gardens in an historic rural setting, beautifully extended and revived in the last few years. Mature trees surround a variety of planting and water features: woodland walks under-planted with bulbs leading to the tidal River Chelmer, a cottage garden, an extensive formal garden filled with David Austin roses, a young orchard and wild flower meadow, a wisteria walk, and stunning 85 yard long mixed herbaceous borders down one side of the lawn. Specimen trees include Magnolia,Tulip and Indian Bean. The extensive lawn has the scenic backdrop of of the remains of a 12th century abbey incorporated into a mainly 17th century private residence.
Please note the house is not open to garden visitors.
Garden Open Days 2016
Open 10.30 am to 4.30 pm
Last admission 3.30 pm
The gardens are open on the following Fridays in 2016
May 13th & 27th
June 3rd, 17th & 24th
July 1st, 15th & 29th
August 12th & 26th
Children aged 5-16 £2.50
Children under 5 free
There is free parking, and a marquee offering refreshments for sale beside the main lawn. Plants, other produce and various printed stationery can be purchased at the entrance.
Telephone 07506 867122
Garden design and history
The grounds first recorded occupation was in 1180 by Premonstratensian canons. After various subsequent owners including several generations of the Francke family, the grounds reverted to farming and market gardening in the 18th and 19th centuries. The current layout nearest the house is probably by Basil Ionides and Wykeham Chancellor in the early 20th century.
More recently different generations of the Foyle family have extended the planted areas and added features such as a statue of Beeleigh Abbey's founder. The last few years in particular, since the purchase in 2000 by Christopher and Catherine Foyle, have seen considerable improvements with further projects in hand.
What to see in season
The three acres of garden are surrounded by mature trees which on the northern boundary give way to a tidal stretch of the River Chelmer. Within this area, a range of different individual gardens and water features can be found.
April starts the season with primroses, daffodils and tulips, together with camellias, magnolias and fruit blossom.
May has spring bedding, and bulbs displayed in the mixed borders, along with magnolias, azaleas, and rhododendrons. Enjoy the bluebells that lead down to the river, and then later in the month the wisteria arches that divide the orchard from the rose garden.
In June the many David Austin roses in the formal beds and on several garden walls start to take centre stage.
In July the cottage garden and meadow are at their best.
Throughout the summer months there is a constant succession of plants flowering in the mixed borders and more roses.
In August summer bedding displays are at their peak.
Directions to the Abbey: leaving Maldon via London Road, take first right after Cemetery into Abbey Turning. Post code CM9 6LL
There is level access to most of the garden, with gravel paths and some gentle slopes. One of the toilets can
be accessed by wheelchair.
Groups of potential visitors are most welcome but should first contact
Call 07506 867122 for advise on catering and transport, especially as the narrow approach road is unsuitable for some types of coaches
Children must be supervised at all times because of potential hazards such as unfenced deep water.
Assistance dogs only please.
Visitors to Beeleigh Abbey often ask if there is a written account of its' history readily available, but up till now there has been only a little booklet dating back to 1962, plus a popular specific study of the archeological excavations there 10 years ago entitled 'Beeleigh Underground', both of which now have only a very few copies remaining.
Now Christopher Foyle has fulfilled a long term personal ambition to produce a new book about his home in Maldon, which is currently going to print. It gives the detailed history of the place, its previous owners including his own family, and a description of the buildings and their gardens. Some 98 pages long it is beautifully illustrated throughout and easy to read.
Beeleigh now has a maturing bog garden complete with it's own separate viewing platform so you don't have to take wellies! The plain straight underground pipe and brick conduit that used to lead directly to the river has been changed into a sinuous open curving stream complete with a new water spout near the path, before winding down to a new pond above the river. Planting is taking root well in this shady moist spot.