Stephen Cox Garden Trust is a Registered  Charity (number: 1174239)


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Detailed Garden Guide





 This is a unique Garden and unusual charity that offers insights of the balance of opposites:


Hard & soft landscaping.

Man made & natural materials.

Formal & informal design.

Contrasting zonal rooms.

Inner and outer life.

Flowing & still water.

Rugged and soft planting.

Places for wildlife and for humans.

Modern and traditional.

Cultivated & wild.

Reflection & stimulus.

Loss and replacement.

Structured and unstructured.


At the heart of it all is the philosophy of Arcadia: a vision of man in balance with nature and the landscape. By creating a garden of opposites which still has an oneness it offers an image and focus of the potential for revitalising the individual and society/the inner and the outer/the micro and the macro environment in a flowing symbiosis. A much needed vision and teaching resource in today's world as we strive to solve the problems that beset us.


It's various workshops, courses, programmes include this principle in its teaching. Additional to its charitable teachings for the young unemployed, provision for young adults with learning difficulties, and residential study placements for young Europeans age 18-27 for between 4 and 12 weeks.


Stephen has been interested in this (dialectic) interplay since his teens. Gradually over the years it has emerged in his writings and in his art works. The garden and the charity is the clearest & most practical expression of it


Conversion from a small field began in 2012. It has been described as a series of rooms each with a different theme linked with sections of lawn, large pergola archways and brick stepping paths. A place where I hope your imagination and love of gardening and nature can be recharged helped along with the sound of 10 water fountains, waterfalls, statues of griffins, cats, sphinxes, lions and life size Greek deities, with many plaques of garden wisdom and spirituality. A place for wildlife and conservation.   


The garden is private and not open to the public on a general basis. But private groups can book exclusive tours from May to August. 


Our curent sponsors for supply of plants to various rooms are: 

Whetmam Pinks;       Ice AlpinesPepperpot Herb Nurseries   


.„Ingenieur-und Planungsbüro LANGE Gbr“  (landscape architecture company in Moers Germany- who support our European residential student study placements)



The Rooms

Some areas are formal others informal. The eye is led from area to area like a journey to hidden vistas. Lord Lansdowne called it "an exciting space".


DIANTHUS ('Theophrastus Corners'):

 In a paved sitting out area with pergola arch, recessed from the lae  and hidden from initial view is a collection (now sponsored by Whetman Pinks of Devon). Also with a fountain and large arbour bench and small patio. Many different varieties of carnations .(sponsored by Whetman Pinks)


GRASSES  ('Forster's Edge'):

Gresses and Phormiums: circular garden which edges part of the pond with a winding slate path and low stone wall. Contains  20+ different grasses and phormiuns.  Includes giant tree lilies, acer, pampas. Named after Johann and his son Georg Forster who discovered the genus on Capt. Cook's second expedition in 1775.


CONIFER ('Nordic Wood'):

A long narrow garden at rear of summerhouse with 54 different dwarf & standard conifers leading to a small woodland looking across to the Wessex Downs. Also includes two seating areas and patio (Nordic Wood). And a secret little building (Elves House).



Benches, bridge, plants, stone & slate edge. FISH: koi, shubunkin, blue & honey orfe, goldfish, blackamoor, green tench, yellow & sarassa comets, silver & golden rudd, ginrinn, ogon, blue panda. Also: pond skaters, water-boatmen, dragonflies, damsel flies, beetles.  Frogs and newts.


URNS Garden:

A paved are together with a covered arbour. Consisting of a variety of classical (stone) urns and planters of various sizes and heights in various shades of blue and two beds. This is all garden is plantedd in shades of blue, white, cream and lavender perennial flowers.,


WATERFALL ('Dartmoor Bells'):

A large area of rocks with waterfall tumbling down over four levels each with a pool (the largest being 16ft x 4ft.) Birds drink and bathe here. Each fall has been made to have a different timbre. I spent many years  running heritage and adventure expeditions to Dartmoor for groups of British and European students. I was enchanted by this landscape and its archaeolgy and legends- and the music of thousands of streans tinkling, gurgling and crashing over the granite.


TROPICAL ('Banks Exotica'):

Surrounding a hidden patio with table and chairs bext to summerhouse. Here are a range of palms, agaves, begonias,  phormiums, yuccas, hostas, succulents, bananas. A 6ft high wooden trellis on the northern and eastern boundary gives extra shelter. Next to it are tree fern, Yucca tree and other tall specimens. Named after Sir Thomas Banks (1743-1820) the botanist who was in Cook's first great voyage of discovery (1768-1771) and who advised King George III on the design and planting of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.


WETLAND ('Froggy Waters'):

A shallow curving area of water surrounded by a bank of planting. Bog and water marginal plants. Stepping stones across the water. Frequented by frogs, newts and various other creatures


ALPINE ('Wilderswil'):

A curved and raised area banked in with Cotswold stone wall. A bed of about 18 plants.  Named after a small village in Switzerland where I spent an extremely happy school summer holiday age 16, climbing the hills and mountains of that wonderful and pristine landscape. (sponsored by Ice Alpines)



HERB garden ('Culpepper's Delights'):

On a raised brick walled bed to tge east of the wetland and pond is the herbarium . Here are  over 60 different herbs.  Named in honour of the 17th.century botantist Nicholas Culpepper 1616-1654.  (Sponsored by Pepperpot Herb Nursery)


BEACH & dunes through an arch edging part of pond with deck chairs, hammock and fountain.  Tree trunk style stepping stones.



For private study, which also house a Library (history/ horticulture/ wildlife/ design/ecology/ landscape/ architecture/heritage etc) of over 1000 books) plus a verandah and chairs.  



and formal walkway including large pergola, sundial, griffin statues and fountain. 10 clipped lollipop bay trees and 10 clipped lollipop olive trees and four large standard olive trees with a selection of boredr plants e.g. campanula, dianthus, erodium, begonia, ageratum etc in shades of blue, pink, lavender)


HEATHERS: ('Heath Ridge'):

This collection on a curving raised bed edged with rocks reminds me of visiting and exploring such landscapes as the New Forest, Dartmoor, Lake District). A raised bed next to the waterfalls of several different heathers .


FUCHSIA Collection ('Plumier's Trove'):

And 2 other raised beds with variety of perennial planting.  The central exclusively given over to fuchsias. Named after the French botantist Charles Plumier (1646-1704) who discovered this genus on his third expedition to the Greater Antilles and named them in honour of Dr.Leonhart Fuchs.


ORCHARD Raspberry, grape, strawberry, tayberry, pomengranite, redcurrant, blackcurrant,  cherry, plum, apple, fig, chestnut, hazelnut, walnut. Arbour Bench.  


COTTAGE GARDEN ('Jekyll's View'):

A Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932) type space (and named in honour of her) with a variety of shrubs and perennial flowers. Leading to a hidden alcove of evergreen shrubs (The Outlook) and also an enclosed arbour (Little Nook).  



of 6 small plots and two large long raised beds in brick walls with a statue of the four seasons in each corner. In the centre is a medieval walled garden style area of two 3ft high raised beds enclosing slate area with two benches and two fountains. Along the back is a collection of 10 acer trees in containers (Acers Walk).


(WOODLAND A small woodland area is under construction. A range  deciduous and coniferous specimen trees have been planted. It will also feature a wildflower area and a wilding area. It iis hoped that (if sponsorship is forthcoming) an apiary can be set up from which others can also benefit. The area will be kept as natural as possible.  It take perhaps another 3 years or so before it starts to attunevto a natural rhythm and appearance.)


Themes, Tributes, Seating

There are over 17 separate seating areas ( seating at least 56 people) scattered across the garden to enable you to relax and take in the great variety of views, sounds and 'rooms' from different angles, as well as tables and patios.

The landscaping (paths, patios, walls, waterfall, pond edge etc) was chosen to reflect the construction materials of the 1885 cottage; brick & limestone but with the addition of plum slate. And also reflect some of the landscapes I love: the coast, Cotswold Hill stone walls, Moorish quads, prehistoric sites, the 4 level waterfall recalls the myriad of different tinkling sounds of Dartmoor streams during my many teaching expeditions there.

Throughout slate plaques reflect upon life (humorous, philosophic, spiritual) to further calm the visitor.

The rooms have signs expressing their inspiration (Wildersil, Dartmoor Bells, Froggy Waters, Fishes Rest, Lepidoptera Place, Heath Ridge, Putti’s Hide, ) or as tribute to a past famous botanist, gardener, landscaper etc (e.g: Plumiere, Culpepper, Banks, Paston, Jekyll, Forster, Capability, Theophrastus etc)



Planting is chosen help and encourage wildlife. About 22+ species of butterfly visit each year.  Also, several species of bees, dragonflies, damsel flies; frogs and newts;  water beetles, pond skaters, eater boatmen and much else. Over 60 fish of several species. Many species of bird. Moles abound. Voles, mice, shrews. Bats. A badger visits. Swallows perform their acrobatics low- enticed by the pond insects. Buzzard and red kite soar high above.

(note: only enquiries dealing exclusively with the garden are accepted)

Booking A Visit

Groups and organsations can book a private visit & conducted tour of the garden by prior appointment. You will be personally shown around by Stephen Cox and given a seated introduction on entry. Garden maps/guides are loaned to help your way around.

Private group visitors are invited to support the Trust by making a donation (suggestion: £4 per person). All proceeds go to enabling the charity to carry out its work.

Tea and cake can be provided by prior arrangement.

There are often plants available: @£2 per pot (all proceeds to charity).

There are no toilet facilities. Children must be accompanied at all times. Regretably no dogs allowed (we have cats). The garden is difficult for wheelchair access: but there are lots of places to sit and rest, and additional walking sticks available to borrow.

Bookings are available for weekdays, weekends, and also evenings.


is a Registered  Charity (number: 1174239) in England & Wales


PURPOSE: To advance education in the subjects of horticulture, conservation , wildlife and heritage by providing study courses, training placements, talks, and workshops and other means for the enrichment of the Wiltshire/Calne and S.Glos/N.Somerset area communities and for the improvement of human well being in general based upon the Founder’s garden, library, writings, teaching and spiritual philosophy.

Please Donate

Please consider supporting the Trust's work for wildlife, education, and community  projects by making a donation.

Thank you!

Please note that all donations made by this method are transmitted automatically to our authorised UK bank account of the Tust and so can only be used for the purposes for which the Trust has designated.

Payment can be in any amount of your choice.



This will take you directly to our dedicated secure Paypal page (you can donate via Paypal or all major Credit Cards)


The garden is private and is not open to the public on a daily basis. The Trust and the Garden is not a business or commercial enterprise and is strictly not-for-profit. It is a private educational Trust serving charitable objectives for the public good as defined by Charity Law in England and Wales. However in the interest of education and public benefit and to help enable others appreciate its work Stephen Ben Cox invites schools/gardening clubs/w.i's and other groups to arrange a private tour of his garden by prior appointment (the private visits season 2019 is: 14 May to 01 August). The Trust (registered charity number: 1174239) is unfunded except for donations. All income is used entirely to support the work and goals of the Trust. Stephen Ben Cox, the Trustees and Volunteers work unpaid. The Trust is seeking business sponsors to support the goals and activities of the Trust. Individual donations are also gratefully received .


Any opportunity, event, facility or activity listed is philanthropic and offered in a private capacity in a spirit of good will for the benefit and enrichment of society. No project or activity or anything published on this website grants any rights or assumptions of private access, or any other rights to either property or possession thereon or therein.


All visitors, volunteers, students, etc assume full personal responsibility for any accident/injury/ damage/loss to themselves or their possessions. Any visitor/volunteer/ student etc visits/partakes of their own volition and at their own risk. No claims will be accepted. Visitors should take note with regards to such things as: uneven ground, spiky/thorny plants, deep water, loose rocks & walling, slippery paving etc Students and volunteers must accept all our guides/terms produced for their well-being, health and safety.