Trentham Garden Team Volunteers

Trentham team's double delight at national awards

Trentham Gardens is celebrating a remarkable result - after winning top honours for its bold restoration planting, and its gardening team, at the UK’s leading industry awards for parks and gardens professionals.

Winning praise for its vision, professionalism and collaborative working, Trentham scooped the ‘Best Gardens or Arboretum Team’ and the ‘Best Gardens or Arboretum Initiative’ at the prestigious Horticulture Week Custodian Awards on Wednesday 27 June.

Held, this year, at Woburn Abbey House and Gardens, the awards once again celebrated the very best of amenity horticulture, and The Trentham Estate, on the edge of Stoke-on-Trent, in Staffordshire, was shortlisted in - and won - two separate categories.

From being derelict 14 years ago, it is has grown in scale and stature ever since, to the point where it is now the fourth most visited paid-for garden attraction in England; and the on-going restoration of this historic gardens and parkland - previously the ancestral home of the Dukes of Sutherland - has again been recognised with two top awards.

Trentham’s latest restoration project, developed with Chelsea Flower Show gold medalist and Royal Horticultural Society Ambassador, Nigel Dunnett, is creating the UK’s most innovative new woodland garden in Burke’s Wood, and extensive new lakeside perennial meadow gardens. The scheme secured the Best Initiative award, with judges praising the developments for “creating bold immersive schemes with dramatic use of colour, texture and form”.

The ultimate bold aim of the work with Nigel Dunnett is to create the UK’s longest sequence of contemporary perennial plantings, designed meadows, and naturalistic gardens.

A 22-strong team of in-house gardeners, who not only maintain the impressive grounds, but also continue the development of Trentham Gardens to an exceptionally high standard, has also been recognised with the Best Gardens Team award.

Celebrating their ‘double top’, Michael Walker, Trentham’s Head of Garden and Estate, commented: “We are naturally delighted to have won these two prestigious awards which mean a lot within our profession, and to our whole team at Trentham.

“The award for Burke’s Wood recognises the incredible contribution that Nigel Dunnett has made to further expand Trentham’s contemporary perennial schemes. Nigel’s work adds to the now iconic plantings designed by Tom Stuart-Smith and Piet Oudolf elsewhere in the garden, and when complete, will provide a unique cross-section of 21st Century perennial plantings in a continuous sequence, creating an experience unrivalled in the UK.”

Nigel Dunnett, meanwhile, added: “Working with the Trentham team has been an exhilarating and wonderful experience - I’m so impressed with their ‘can-do’ attitude and willingness to go the extra mile.  As well as the 70,000 new perennials, Burke’s Wood also includes more than 700 new magnolia trees planted in stunning groves of 10-50 of just one variety. It’s an example of the bold scale of planting and the far-reaching scope of the vision that is going to make Trentham the go-to place for forward-looking innovations in garden making.”

Trentham Gardens re-opened its gates to the public 14 years ago when the 725-acre estate was rescued from a state of disrepair by expert developer and regeneration specialist, St. Modwen, who revived the historic gardens and parkland. During its 10th anniversary celebrations The Daily Telegraph described it as “the garden makeover of the decade”.

Last year the Gardens, at the heart of the Estate, attracted just over 725,000 visits - making them one of the most visited garden attractions in the whole of the UK.


For all media information, photo-opportunities and images, please contact: Amanda Dawson. Tel: 01782 657341. E-mail:

Notes to editors:

The Trentham Estate, on the edge of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, offers one of the UK’s most diverse days out with a range of leisure activities for all ages. It is one of the country’s top leisure destinations, attracting more than 3.2m visitors per year and was awarded a Gold Accolade by VisitEngland in February 2018 in recognition of the quality visitor experience offered. The fabulous restored Trentham Gardens at the heart of the Estate attracted just over 725,000 visits in 2017 - making them one of the most visited gardens in the UK. They were also named the UK’s “Garden of the Year” in the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards 2015. Owned and managed by St. Modwen, expert developer and regeneration specialist, the 725-acre Estate, which was previously owned for over 400 years by the Dukes of Sutherland, has undergone a massive regeneration programme since 2003. The Estate boasts: The famous Trentham Gardens, including the very important Italianate Gardens designed by Charles Barry in the 1830s that have been lovingly restored using top landscape designers. The gardens feature the UK’s first ‘barefoot’ walk, a great children’s adventure play area and maze and a beautiful walk around the mile long lake, originally laid out by Lancelot “Capability” Brown in the 18th Century. The Trentham Garden Centre and newly expanded Shopping Village, an eclectic mix of shops and eateries with a 119-bedroom Premier Inn Hotel. Trentham Monkey Forest - a unique opportunity to walk amongst 140 free roaming Barbary macaques, in a natural woodland environment for this endangered species. Extensive woodlands.