The Grounds

The grounds comprise a small fragment of a Norman deer park (Clebury Park), once owned by King Henry I, but later given by Henry VIII to the father of his mistress, when she gave birth to Henry's eldest son. The surrounding countryside is a precious unspoilt survivor of a medieval landscape, barely changed since Elizabeth I prosecuted the local squire for cutting too many of her oak trees, which she needed both for her navy to fend off the Spanish Armada and to heat her favourite Robert Dudley's iron furnaces (He had 2 of these in the Wyre Forest close to the cottage).

Manor Holding Grounds

Wild Wonderland

Within the wider grounds of Manor Holding, is a wonderland of exciting places for children and adults to explore and curiosities to discover. There are lots of opportunities for creative, educational play and physical activity for all age groups.

Manor Holding is set in 2ha (5 1/2 acres) of ancient mixed fruit orchards and wildflower meadows, managed in accordance with a Higher Level Countryside Stewardship agreement with English Nature, using sheep grazing to control the vegetation.  NB. Please note that dogs are not permitted in those fields where sheep are being grazed at the time, but are welcome at other times or elsewhere provided they kept under control.

Orchard Management

Ancient Orchards

These orchards form part of the Wyre Forest Site of Special Scientific Interest, one of the largest in England.  Guests are welcome to pick their own fruit, herbs and vegetables in season.  Fruit grown include a wide variety of desert, cooking, and cider apples, pears, cherries, plums, greengages, damsons, sloes, elderberries, peaches, nectarines, figs, blackberries, mulberries, black and red currants, gooseberries, blueberries, strawberries.  The last being used as ground cover in the flower beds!

Plus walnuts, hazelnuts, and sweet chestnuts. 

The hedgerows are lantaid in the traditional manner on a 10 year cycle and are protected from the sheep by double fences to encourage development of wildlife corridors linked to the forest.

The hedgerows, grasslands, pond, woodland and ancient fruit trees support a huge variety of wildlife, some of it rare and endangered, as does the surrounding forest.

2Ha (5 acres) Wildflower Meadows

Endangered Local Beetle - Noble Chafer Mistletoe in Top Orchard

Wildlife Diversity
Species to look out for include Fallow and Muntjac Deer, Badgers, the brilliant green Noble Chafer (found only in such ancient orchards), Dormice, Shrews, Bats, Bees, Hornets, Damselle and Dragonflies, Newts, Mistletoe, Snowdrop, Bluebell, Cowslip, Fritillary, Wild Garlic (delicious), Toothwort, Puffball, the enormous Shaggy Parasol mushroom and Giant Puffball (both edible but check identification), Kestrels, various Owls, Green Woodpecker, Swallows, Cuckoo, Moths and Butterflies, Devil's Coachman, the brilliant scarlet Black Headed Cardinal Beetle, and many more.  You might even see an elusive black Lynx!

The Wyre Forest is famous for a huge diversity of butterflies and moths.  Over 140 species of moth have been identified in one night by one local researcher.


Historic Landscape

The history and archaeology of Manor Holding and its immediate surrounds is complex, intriguing and ancient.  In the medieval period the hamlet at whose centre it stands was a thriving small industrial town producing coal, iron ore, charcoal and other forest products.  However the black death and later stricter enforcement of the feudal forest laws by Queen Elizabeth I, led to the relocation of industry further north to Ironbridge, now revered as the birthplace of the industrial revolution and a World Heritage Site.

Manor Holding and its neighbours still have clear traces of mine shafts, spoil heaps and other earthworks in the fields and adjacent woodland, though these can be hard to spot among the ant hills and vegetation.  Fresh ancient objects are uncovered each time the garden is dug over.  The ancient ridgeway used by the cottage drive is now (at least within the grounds) part of a long distance footpath, the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark Way, which runs for 109 miles between Gloucester and Bridgnorth.  While the lane is part of an old, much wider, drove and timber extraction route that skirted around the edge of the old deer park.


Guest Comment

What a haven of peace and quiet!...We thought the garden was magic and enjoyed desserts of blackberries, apples and plums.

Alan & Liz,


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