Historic Tintern Abbey was founded by the Cistercian Monks in c1203 under the patronage of William Marshal, first Earl of Pembroke. In 1562, the Abbey was granted to the Colclough (pronounced Coke-lee) family and soon after the church was converted into living quarters. The Colclough family lived there up to the mid-20th century.

The Walled Garden is 2.5 acres in size, has been painstakingly restored from an overgrown, out of control, inaccessible mess by volunteers. Work began in 2010 and the garden has been transformed into a stunning example of a Georgian Walled Garden layout. The garden is surrounded by a towering stone and brick wall which includes curved corners, two intra mural structures on the dividing brick wall that splits the garden into two sections, Ornamental and Kitchen. The original layout of the garden has been reinstated as it was in the 1800s.

A small stream runs through the garden traversed by five white bridges. The outside perimeter of the wall is lined with impressive mature Ash, Beech and Sycamore trees a playground for song birds and a nursery for rearing their young.

I paid a visit in July this year to see the progress. Approaching the garden from the Abbey, through hard wood woodland, past the ruined remains of the gardener’s cottage and suddenly the magnificent garden wall appears through the trees; the entrance to this delightful garden. Being mid-summer, lush green dominated the garden vista. The layout afforded a small adventure like expedition into the unknown with flashes of colour appearing between the lush green foliage. Rising up from the small river, the Geometric design layout of the sloped provides a splash of colour flanked by apple trees. The silence is amazing with the only sound being the therapeutic sound of the stream cascading gently through the ground.

I moved on to the kitchen area in search of the c190 year old pear tree (See earlier Blog) to see how it was doing at overcoming all odds of survival. Amazingly, still producing some fruit but looking at its decaying trunk you can only marvel at the determination of nature and its desire to survive. Tried a few black currents, bit sour but I was premature in my expectations. Further up the drill were the strawberries, fleeting red fruit peeping out from the leaves that provide the cover from the birds who also enjoy the juicy red fruits. I sampled a few… delicious. The rest of the kitchen garden provided, cauliflower, cabbage, leek, spuds and much more. The gardeners harvest the fruit and there is an “Honesty” box at the entrance where you can help yourself to these fresh in season vegetables and leave a donation that goes straight back into the up keep of the garden.

Recently discovered was a “saddle furnace” which was used to heat the green house. A simple piece of equipment. The furnace is built in a hole below the level of the greenhouse floor. A looped pipes carry the water through the greenhouse. After being heated by the furnace the hot water naturally rises and as it does it pushes the water upwards and creates circulation in the closed loop allowing the cold water to return to the furnace to be reheated. So simple.

Colclough Walled Garden

After leaving the inspiring garden, I went for a walk through the woodland, following the Tintern River that runs through the center of this woodland of fine beech, oak, and chestnut trees, some c200 years old, as well as kingfishers, egrets, buzzards, red squirrels, stoats, and seven types of bat. Good quality path allows easy access. The trees were heavy in foliage but the ferns were spectacular. As you enter the woodland, there is a towering stone built structure which is the remains of a water run mill.

Project Manager: Alan Ryan,
Head Gardner: David Bawden,

Colclough Walled Garden
Tintern Abbey, Salt Mills, Hook Peninsula, Co Wexford, Y34 KR64, Ireland

Tel: 083 3064159

Sat Nav: 52.23696  -6.83778

Opening Every Day:
April to September    10 am to 6 pm
October to March      10 am to 4 pm