Aysgarth Edwardian Rock Garden
OS grid reference:- SE002883
Aysgarth Edwardian Rock Garden must be one of the most unusual Listed Buildings in the Yorkshire Dales. It was commissioned in the years before the First World War by Frank Sayer-Graham who owned the cottage opposite.
Frank Sayer-Graham was a local landowner and by all accounts a colourful character. He dealt in rare gulls eggs and silver rabbit furs raised in a warren on nearby Lady Hill. He was even reputed to have supplied Nicholas II, the last Czar of Russia with furs.
Sayer-Graham was also a keen horticulturist. He planted fields of tulips and daffodils as well as at least two plantations of trees around Aysgarth, and set up his own nursery next door to his home, Heather Cottage. Messrs J Backhouse & Son of York was brought in to design and build the rock garden and construction began in 1906. Sayer-Graham may also have had advice from the famous alpine specialist and plant hunter, Reginald Farrer. Rock gardening was undergoing a popular revival and the Backhouse nursery led the field in the building of walk-through Rock Gardens. Situated on the outskirts of the village, it was designed as a walk-through grotto. Massive weathered blocks of limestone were hauled down from the fells to create the enormous rockscapes complete with mountain stream and pool.
The garden was listed in 1988 and since then, its owners have raised the funds to restore the garden it to its former glory.
On the A684 at the western end of Aysgarth village, about 200 metres before the Thornton Rust turning. Public access during daylight hours. Donations box.