Castle Bromwich

Organisation: Castle Bromwich Historic Gardens, Chester Road, Castle Bromwich, Birmingham B36 9BT

We operate as a visitor attraction on the edge of the city, attracting garden lovers from all over the UK and providing accessible, family-friendly opportunities to encounter ‘the wild’ for our local city-based communities (IMAGE 1).

The Gardens are already a unique survival, having made it through nearly 350 years with little change in design. The natural habitats within the Walled Gardens and in the surrounding Parklands are of course much, much older. As a tiny Charitable Trust with a very big responsibility we already feel that the ‘Past’ we are looking after gives us an obligation to ensure that the ‘Future’.

When things are really tough in the short term, we find comfort and energy in thinking of the long term perspective: we know we are just one in a long chain of people who will look after and cherish these 70 acres of green surrounded by intense industrial and urban sprawl.

While our financial and people capacity is severely limited, we feel that being able to share this important site and act as a vector for sustainable messages of all kinds is key to our mission.

Opportunities for major investments in operational change are very limited, however we take every chance we can to focus visitor activities and on-site messages on relevant environmental issues and sustainable practices.

With a Heritage requirement to keep things in an 18th century manner, we have always gardened in a largely organic fashion. Although not a Botanical Garden, our two heritage fruit orchards ensure that older, non-commercial varieties are kept alive, promoting biodiversity.

The Batty Langley vegetable and herb gardens showcases older vegetables and their uses, and regular visitor-facing projects highlight the global origins of our food and gardens, promote home growing and, with our new ‘Bounty on your Doorstep’ project (IMAGE 2), help people to forage safely and to understand how climate change is affecting seasonal growth and habitats.

Since the pandemic our café and shop offer has changed considerably. Expanding and introducing plant-based café materials and seeking out local suppliers and producers has not only meant a better experience for visitors but enables us to back up our other sustainable messages.

Although currently only ‘behind the scenes’, our composting and rainwater harvesting projects are at last enabling us to feel we have a 360-degree approach to sustainability.


A bird's eye view of the Castle Bromwich Gardens


Our commitments

Having survived the last couple of years as a Trust, our ambitions to replace and upgrade our ageing working and visitor welcome buildings, become all the more urgent. Our long-held conviction is that the replacement must be both carbon neutral and a ‘demonstration’ building. We are pleased that this is no longer a minority view internally or with the visiting public. We are looking forward to the challenge of designing and building appropriately in such an historic space but know that through it we can continue to tell the story of the past and an optimistic future.