Swiss Garden bridge web

The bridges prove a popular backdrop for wedding photos

I recently visited The Swiss Garden at The Shuttleworth Trust, Old Warden Aerodrome nr Biggleswade in Bedfordshire.  I had a lovely look round this garden with Garden Manager Corinne Price, and it’s magnificent.

The garden is coming up to 200 years, and is very interesting with meandering paths and surprises around every corner.  But it’s also quite unique and doesn’t look like your typical Regency garden because you’ve got rustic buildings dotted around.

Also unusual for a Regency garden is the Swiss landscape created by Lord Robert Henley Ongley in the 1830s.

The Fern House is beautiful and intriguing.  It’s an odd cruciform shape, with four extending arms.  Two of the arms are glazed with a lovely dome in the middle.  The other two arms have been changed quite significantly by Joseph Shuttleworth who bought the garden in 1872.  They have been lined with Pulmaite stalactitic sort of grotesque stone features all the way through which adds something quite dramatic to the building.

Water is a big feature throughout the garden.  Ongley’s ponds are still the original ones and make a lovely feature with two of the original wrought iron bridges with an elaborate design of swirls and twirls.  There’s also a Shuttleworth bridge over the pond cascade.  Stand in the right place and you get a lovely view of the bridges, something I’m told is popular with brides.

The good thing about the garden for visitors is access is good; the paths are extremely good for people with disabilities or parents with prams and pushchairs.  The woodland walk and sculpture trail are also completely accessible.

The Swiss Garden is open daily.  For more information visit

Enjoy your garden.


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