A three acre mature country garden open to the surrounding farmland and landscape, including a collection of fine ornamental trees created by owners James and Lucy Nelson over the past 24 years.

Forest Lodge didn’t really have a garden when James and Lucy Nelson bought the house in 1996. They set about deer fencing and digging a lake and then tackled the difficult and expensive business of creating terraces on the south west facing slope which looks towards the Blackmore Vale.

The feature that sets the garden apart is the amphitheatre effect of the concentric circles of terracing towards the South West. The other exceptional feature is the acid soil - a similar pH to Stourhead Gardens down the road.  This means they can grow so many more rare and lovely plants all around the year, such as camellias, hammamelis, rhododendrons, cornus and davidia.

Lucy was helped by Michelle Prior and they based their plans loosely on some of the Arts & Crafts gardens created by Lutyens and Jekyll, especially Hestercombe in Somerset, which is such an inspiration. Gradually the planting plans emerged and the more formal borders around the house were planted up with many David Austin roses and underplanted with bulbs, salvias, lilies and lavender.

Amanda Fowler has been Lucy’s Head Gardener for 15 years and together with Oliver Downing they are the dream team keeping the garden immaculate and contributing many artistic and constructive ideas for the garden.


The Garden is also featured in Abigail Willis’ fantastic book
‘The Secret Gardens of Somerset’

"A pitch perfect Somerset garden, with echoes of Hestercombe and tranquil glades of flowering trees and shrubs to wander among.
A tonic for the soul! "

Abigail Willis 

All proceeds from Garden ‘openings’ go to The Balsam Centre,
our local mental health hub in Wincanton.
You can also make a one off donation via the link below:


+44 (0) 7974 701427
or by email at

All photography © Carole Drake