How the Duchess of Bedford restored Woburn Abbey’s historic garden

When the current Duke and Duchess of Bedford took over the running of Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire in 2003, the Duchess did not have any gardening experience. 

Born Louise Crammond, she had previously worked in an advertising agency but, at an early meeting with the Woburn trustees, she mentioned an interest in the gardens and it progressed from there. At that time the 42 acres of gardens were an also-ran to the house; the lawns were immaculately kept but the gardens and out buildings were in need of restoration, the rockery was completely overgrown and some structures were unsafe. The dominant features were a crazy golf course and a fairground. 

Humphry Repton (1752-1818), whose bicentenary…

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