Newbiggin gardens come out of the shadows to help a vital service

A vision of England: The Grange at Newbiggin.

By Betsy Everett

The once-hidden gardens of a Dales hamlet revealed their glories to the world at the weekend, raising £1,365 for the Great North Air Ambulance service.

Residents of Newbiggin in Bishopdale revived the custom started 25 years ago of opening their gardens, largely hidden from view behind the facades of the 18th century houses, to public view for a single day.

More than 200 people toured the twelve gardens and through donations, admission charges, plant sales and brisk tea room business, raised the cash for the much-valued helicopter ambulance service.
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Resident Diane Howarth of Eastburn Farmhouse, one of the organisers, said visitors had been intrigued by the ‘secret gardens’ theme. The village has one main street which goes nowhere, and is off the normal tourist track.

“It is a great example of how even the smallest of communities can come together, do some good, and have a great time. People said they support the air ambulance wherever possible because it is so vital in this rural area. It was a smashing community event for a good cause,” she said.

Extensive but ‘minimum maintenance’ garden at The Grange
Ann and Jim Hawkins’ small but perfectly formed garden at Croft House
Purple cranesbill, astrantia (centre) and alchemilla at The Grange