It was closed to visitors for many years but the current owner, Mrs. Anderson welcomes visitors, in return for a donation into the box by the gate towards the upkeep of this lovely little garden. It's small but magical. Young children find it otherworldly, thanks to the twisting paths and low archways created by enormous blocks of limestone.
The Rock Garden feels very calm, set apart from the busy road, with places to sit and just enjoy the birdsong. I love places like this, somewhere an individual created on a whim for their own enjoyment, which years later still brings unexpected pleasure to countless visitors. "Rock Garden" sounds quite harsh, and yet this feels soft and gentle, a welcome respite and chance to just sit and look.
He'd made some money from his various businesses and in the tradition of the time, decided to create something to enjoy and show off his wealth. Alpine plants were very popular so he set about creating his own alpine paradise, using James Backhouse to create the garden opposite his home. The limestone blocks came from Stephen's Moor and a spring-fed waterfall was created. It's possible Frank Sayer Graham took advice on the planting from plant hunter and alpine specialist Reginald Farrer at Ingleborough Caves and Nature Trail.
The garden fell into disuse for some time. There are stories that it was used for a garden gnome business for a while, and that the odd headless gnome can still be found in the garden's nooks and crannies. Locals campaigned to prevent the garden being sold for development and Aysgarth Rock Garden was spot listed in 1988. Funding from the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, and the RHS enabled the garden to be renovated.
The current owners, Mr and Mrs. Anderson bought the garden in 2012 are keen for visitors to enjoy the 300 varieties of plants and ferns in the garden. Please do park in the layby rather than the road in front of the garden, and remember to use the donation box.