Humphry Repton at Woburn

Image for Humphry Repton at Woburn Repton's Watercolour Design For The Rockery Pavilion.

The First Landscape Gardener

Humphry Repton was the first person to use the title of Landscape Gardener. He made it up by combining his interest in landscape painting with his skills in practical gardening.

On his inheritance of Woburn, the 6th Duke continued his brother’s, the 5th Duke of Bedford, development of the Estate. In 1804 he invited Repton to suggest proposals for landscaping the Abbey grounds after all of the building work at The Abbey. Repton sent his Red Book, filled with his ideas for the estate, to Woburn in January 1805. 

This book contained a number of plans that were eventually carried out such as a new approach from the London Road, the thornery plantation and a viaduct. Others were partly carried out such as the pleasure grounds layout, hills either side of the driveway and changes to the Basin Pond dam. Finally, some suggestions were not enacted at all. These included new road layouts, including the driveway to the West Front, and alterations to the pond shoreline.

Image for Humphry Repton at Woburn Repton's Watercolour Design for The Rockery.

It is the pleasure grounds that form the main area considered to be Woburn Abbey Gardens today. Although the paths and excavations were completed, the Menagerie built and the bridge over the Greenhouse pond constructed, most of Repton’s vision for the pleasure grounds was unrealised.

It seems that perhaps his ideas of “fanciful decoration” were just not to the taste of the Duke and Duchess. In the end, with the input of Sinclair and Wyatville, gardens for recreation and relaxation were built over the subsequent decade, together with exciting and magical places for the children to play.

You can learn more about the work of Humphry Repton and his plans for Woburn Abbey at one of our study days. Take a look at our event listings for more information. 

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Events & Exhibitions

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Woburn Abbey Garden Show 2017

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After the huge success of the 2016 Garden Show this June we are pleased to announce that tickets can now be purchased for the 8th Woburn Abbey Garden Show taking place on 24th and 25th June 2017. Set against the stunning backdrop of Woburn Abbey, ‘The Gardener’s Garden Show’ offers visitors the best location of any show in the UK, taking place within the 42 acres of Abbey Gardens.
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Garden Photography (morning session)

A great opportunity to learn about digital photography and enjoy the Woburn Abbey Garden Show
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Garden Photography (afternoon session)

A great opportunity to learn about digital photography and enjoy the Woburn Abbey Garden Show
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Garden Show - Waitrose Offer

to
After the huge success of the 2016 Garden Show this June we are pleased to announce that tickets can now be purchased for the 8th Woburn Abbey Garden Show taking place on 24th and 25th June 2017. Set against the stunning backdrop of Woburn Abbey, ‘The Gardener’s Garden Show’ offers visitors the best location of any show in the UK, taking place within the 42 acres of Abbey Gardens.
Image for Woburn Abbey Garden Show 2017 VIP Packages

Woburn Abbey Garden Show 2017 VIP Packages

to
After the huge success of the 2016 Garden Show this June we are pleased to announce that tickets can now be purchased for the 8th Woburn Abbey Garden Show taking place on 24th and 25th June 2017. Set against the stunning backdrop of Woburn Abbey, ‘The Gardener’s Garden Show’ offers visitors the best location of any show in the UK, taking place within the 42 acres of Abbey Gardens.
Image for Woburn Abbey Gardens Tour and Lunch 13th July

Woburn Abbey Gardens Tour and Lunch 13th July

Enjoy the splendour of the Woburn Abbey Gardens through the seasons with our 2017 private garden tour and lunch at The Sculpture Gallery.
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A Day with Pippa Greenwood

Learn to 'grow your own' from this well-known gardening expert.
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Bee Walk

Discover the importance of attracting bees to your garden and, more importantly, how to attract them.
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Garden Safari Week - July

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Calling all Garden Explorers! Come and join us on our Garden Safari this summer holiday.
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Parkland Tour - July

Come along on a tour around our beautiful deer park, and experience it as Humphry Repton intended.
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Garden Safari Week - August

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Calling all Garden Explorers! Come and join us on our Garden Safari this summer holiday.
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Parkland Tour - August

Come along on a tour around our beautiful deer park, and experience it as Humphry Repton intended.
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Bat Walks

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Take an exclusive tour of the Woburn Abbey Gardens at night and learn about the nocturnal activities of the bats living in the gardens.
Image for Bat Walks

Bat Walks

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Take an exclusive tour of the Woburn Abbey Gardens at night and learn about the nocturnal activities of the bats living in the gardens.
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Pruning Study Day

This session is designed to give you a wide range of pruning skills and enable you to get hands on with plant material to gain the confidence with your own garden maintenance.
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Christmas Flowers with Jonathan Moseley

A masterclass in Christmas flower-arranging with floral expert, Jonathan Moseley.