I was advised by the locals not to go here as it is a rip-off. I proceeded to the Village of Gooderstone and arriving at the Water Gardens was met by a gardener. The entry fee was to be by cash only. The gardens are overgrown and the wildnerness state of the layout made it impossible to walk in certain areas. We brought the dog and whilst the walk around the lake took only 20mins there were no refreshments on offer. The Coffee Shop is shut now that it is out of season.
It is hard to understand why the family have allowed this to go so wild and neglected. Billy Knights, a retired farmer began designing and creating the Water Gardens in 1970 in his 70th year. The site was a damp meadow which became too wet for cattle to graze. Mr Knights' son jokingly suggested he should have a water garden, which prompted him to draw out plans (on the back of a piece of wallpaper) and he soon had machines digging out the ponds and waterways. He worked on his garden with love and enthusiasm until he died aged 93. For over 20 years the gardens had been open to the public.
Both Billy and his wife Florence loved their gardens and sharing them with others. With this in mind and as a tribute to her parents Coral Hoyos began restoration in April 2002. Having been unattended and closed for five years, the Gardens had become quite derelict. However they were re-opened again in June 2003, with a new car park, refurbished tea-room / gallery, a toilet for disabled people and an 8 acre nature trail. There has since been the addition of a bird hide and a new plant sales area, bamboo grove, scented arbour and rustic roundhouse.
The area needs some serious TLC. I have been to a Water Garden before but this is a rip off at £6. There is a full time gardener on site but sadly it does not show. Billy and Florence would be sad to see the levels of neglect here.
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