I grew up fairly near this place http://www.markshall.org.uk/ yet until the other day I knew nothing about it!

Located just off the A12 heading towards Colchester, this hidden gem has an amazing story of abandonment and neglect, then re-invention as a garden open to the public (for a mere £4!).

On Sunday I went with my boyfriend (who heard about this place on Gardener’s World) and it was just magical to walk around the formal and wild parts of this 200 acre site. Infact, we only had a few hours there so we just touched on the main site (walled garden, two man-made lakes, swans, tea rooms, ancient woodland, mushrooms) and will be definitely going back to do some more exploring!

There used to be a house on the site too – Mark Hall – but sadly it felt into disrepair after the second world war, and the owner had to demolish due to lack of funding. Apparently this was quite common in the 50s in Essex, a lot of lovely homes were destroyed and the bricks re-used in local houses.

All a bit sad really. But, at least the garden has been returned to it’s formal glory, and I really recommend a vist.