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The Garden & Terraces

'The lake doth glitter'

We can see how Voysey set the house to fit seamlessly into the landscape:  from the originally more extensively planted driveway - to the veranda over the sunken lawn and pergola - to the terrace overlooking the rockery, daffodil escarpment and foreshore - to the sundial terraces leading to the lake drive, Black Beck woodland and pond (now the tennis court and boat park).

The original plans show a more extensive terrace with steps leading down to the escarpment and semi-circular balcony with sundial at its northern end.  Beyond the terraces remains a relatively wild and rugged rockery with winding paths, ponds and shrubberies.

The aerial shot taken in the 1960s shows how some of these elements interact.

Aerial view of Broad Leys in the 1960s

When the renowned textile designer and friend of Arthur and Helen Currer-Briggs, Annie Garnett visited the newly built house in September 1900, she noted that the spot chosen for the house was “right on the daffodil mound where we have gathered great bunches of yellow year after year”.  It is still there.

The Terrace in 1911 in Colour

The terrace in 1911

The terrace in 1911

Many of the images in the gallery below have been enhanced from originals in the WMBRC archives.

There is speculation that Thomas Mawson, a renowned Arts and Crafts garden designer, contributed to the garden layout.  He designed the garden for Voysey's nearby Moor Crag, which was constructed in conjunction with Broad Leys.  His typically more formal style is characterised by pergolas, summerhouses, and symmetry; so it is possible that his influence can be traced back to Voysey's original vision.

In his autobiography, "Life and Work of an English Landscape Architect," Mawson reminisces about collaborating with Voysey at both Broad Leys and Moor Crag.  He describes Voysey as "an architect who had rapidly risen to fame as one of the leaders of the Arts and Crafts movement, and as the exponent of a quaint simplicity."

In the summer of 1909 when the Potter family rented Broad Leys, Beatrix Potter described the gardens as “charming”.

We have many delightful images of the gardens taken by Beatrix’s father, Rupert Potter, a renowned amateur photographer, which give us a good idea of the original features and some which are no longer present:  They show the terraced area down to a sundial, the woodland pond (probably now the tennis court and boat park) and the pergola in the sunken garden.  The images below show the garden, terraces and foreshore at Broad Leys over the years in many guises:  from a family retreat to a wartime hospital to a busy clubhouse; from peaceful gardens to racing venue to film-set!

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