Bonsall Open Gardens1st - 2nd June

& Landscape2024

The Magical Gardens of Bonsall

Temples, Grottos, Field Barns, Wildflowers and the Historic Moor


Bonsall Open gardens has been raising funds for village projects now for many years. It is a perfect place to hold such an event because of its quiet, quirky and quintessential hill village character.

Its rugged limestone hills and dales are a perfect backdrop for gardens bursting with colour and texture. There are hidden pathways to explore, surprising views at every turn and lots of freedom to just roam.

The village has two pubs:- the kings head and the barley mow that serve good food and fine ales. We have a new cafe at the Fountain for anything from paninis to ice cream. There are many b&B to make it a good weekend’s break during the open gardens weekend.


Bonsall has some wonderful gardens. From the pretty cottage garden, hidden yards and winding hilltop plots, to cascading streams, waterfalls, grottos and ladies fern walks. Some of the gardens have been influenced by Gertrude Jekyll, Joseph Paxton, the victorians at matlock bath. Others have evolved from hundreds of years of being working cottage gardens, with vegetable patches, pig styes and stables. The backdrop to these gardens are the very buildings by which they sit. Frame knitter's workshops with a cow shed beneath, an old pub yard with barns for a working shire horse and his cart, a gardener's glasshouse with a wood burning stove to heat the plants over winter. Bonsall open gardens is a walk around the evolving history of the village, with its foxgloves, wild poppies and ox eye daisies accompanying you by the limestone walls as you walk by.

As a number of the gardens are very small and cramped, we have designated some as a 'peep over'. Where you are free to have a look, but stay by the gate. Also, some parts of Bonsall are very steep, so extra care and good footwear is needed.

Gardens Open in 2024


The unique bonsall landscape was created by a volcano beneath tropical waters. Limestone was made by a millennia of the remains of sea creatures, some of which can still be seen in the rubble walls. Tufa was made by the bubbling water through coral. Minerals like spar and lead were formed, and ultimately this is what has shaped the village to what it is today.

The romans came to bonsall to mine 'pigs' of lead. maybe bonsall had a role in the demise of the roman empire because of the toxic properties of lead plates. Bonsall's volcanic warm springs that never freeze in winter caught the imagination of richard arkwright. already a hub for silk stocking frameknitters, Sir Richard built his factory downstream at cromford and thus started the industrial revolution:- From a couple of springs in the bonsall dales!

Bonsall's landscape is a historic industrial landscape because of such workings. It has many footpaths as the mines are dotted around the Parish. There are pack- horse trails cobbled and flanked with stone walls, stone squeeze stiles to keep stock in, lead miner's coes, dew ponds, lime kilns, quarries and field barns. The spoil heaps from the lead workings have had nature weather them over time and unique flora and fauna now live amongst the rubble. Lead wort and orchids are a common site in the summer months. Higher up on the moor the hawthorn and blackthorn create a witchy silhouette in winter, but by early summer they froth like champagne with may blossom. The wildflower meadows closer to the village are abundant in June, just before the hay is cut. The fields were walled as part of the enclosures act, and many of them were narrow strips or 'Pingles'. There is an old map on the wall at the barley mow with all the field names on each en- closure. the bongs, fairy lane and wooly pingle to name a few.

So the village really has evolved through its geology, its thermal heat and minerals. It had an abundance of limestone rubble from which to build homes, shops, pubs, small holdings and field boundary walls. Lime mortar was made to cement it all together and fresh spring water plumbed in at wells to drink. The 7 wells are still an important feature around the village and are celebrated during the well dressing and carnival week.

Bonsall village won the village of the year competition in 2010. We work hard at keeping village life vibrant with many events, celebrations, business, school and church networks, and conservation work at the forefront. we are grateful to all the open gardens visitors who participate in this event, because investing back into the village creates more enjoyment for everyone in the years to come.





Bonsall is on the A5012 "Via Gellia" Road. It is about 1 mile from Cromford and the A6.

Sat Nav

The postcode for Bonsall is DE4 2AA


There is a bus from Cromford or Matlock Mondays to Saturdays: every hour. No Busses run on Sunday.

View this map on Google maps



bonsall village website

bonsall Field Barn Project