|HCC Site ID:||1675||Parish:||Hayling|
|Access:||No Public Access||Ownership:||Respite Centre/Hampshire County Council|
Location and site
Orchard Close Care Home has been built in a walled area of Westfield House, It is within a residential area and is situated in the north east corner of the original estate where Westfield Avenue meets Victoria Avenue. The garden is close to the southern shoreline of South Hayling Island with a beach walk giving direct access. By road, access is gained from Westfield Avenue to the east of the main A3023 Havant Road that runs through the island and a short distance from where it ends at the seafront. The land is low-lying.
Westfield Estate, formerly a large mid-late 19th century estate belonging to the Sandeman family, is now built over, apart from the walls that bound Orchard Close. The original estate was enlarged around 1860. ‘Later maps and Sales Particulars of 1890 describe a model farm, with parkland, well matured grounds, rookery, glass houses, a fernery, fig and peach houses, vinery, hot house, orchid house and forcing pits and outhouses. The whole estate was bounded by deciduous and coniferous planting. There was an Italian garden with a fountain, a second kitchen garden, and lawns and shrubbery. There was carriage access from the Havant Road with an imposing entrance, to the sweep at the northern entrance, turning into the extensive stabling area. The owner, Colonel John Glas Sandeman, a courtier to Queen Victoria, was in occupation only during the summer months, as was later his mother’ (Strubbe 2009, 23-24).
In 1897/98 the estate was sold, with the parkland to the north divided into lots which were sold as building land. Through the 19th century and part of the 20th the remaining area, including the house, was successively an hotel and then several different schools. The Orchard Close site however, was acquired by Dame Edith Peat in 1909. On the third edition 1909 map, this site extended south to the sea, retaining its distinctive northern wall as well as glass houses and fruit trees. In 1929, Dame Peat bequeathed the property to her daughter, Mrs Oliver, who in 1933 commissioned the building of an Arts and Crafts-style house for her daughter Mrs, later Lady Saunders. It is possibly at this time that the garden was redesigned.
By 1956 Orchard Close, being then in different hands, was sold. The garden extending almost to the sea, had two vegetable gardens, a sunken garden with lily pond, rose garden, camellia tree, herbaceous borders within the brick walls, and a terrace surrounding the house. There was a brick path to the front door flanked by hornbeam hedges and edged with flower beds. The garden deteriorated as a garden from 1964 onwards when the Hampshire authorities acquired the site and the era of Orchard Close as a Respite Home began (Strubbe 2009 23-24).
The rest of the Westfield estate is entirely built over, with occasional glimpses of earlier features such as the gate piers on Beach Road, a few surviving trees and the detail of the Choir School in the dormitories refurbished as retirement apartments which border the Orchard Close site.
Following a major refurbishment of the house in the early 21st century the garden was redesigned by Trevor How, of the Landscape Planning Heritage Group of the Hampshire County Council in the style of the Arts and Crafts Movement. ‘The new works included boundary wall repairs, new trellis work and fencing, an arbour and pergola, a raised bed for herbs, new paving and lawns and a small water feature.
The idea of involving local people in the development of the garden was supported and achieved from an early stage with the help of the Hampshire Gardens Trust; the garden history research work generated enthusiasm, and was instrumental in publicising the garden. A band of garden maintenance volunteers was gradually formed, and provided the confidence to specify planting appropriate for the garden.
The ethos of the home supported the creation of a Friends Group and retained a loyal membership of garden volunteers for many years. (Strubbe 2009, 24)
A new summerhouse was added as well as a shed for garden tools, birdbaths (decorated by an artist with pebble mosaics on site). A beach-walk planting was also added with funding and practical ‘hands-on’ help from the Mengham Women’s Institute. In the n winter 2008, new trees for the orchard, and a large compost area were provided’ and a wildflower garden planted (Strubbe 2009, 24). A decision by Hampshire County Council to close the facility was proposed which was then rescinded. However, the Friends Group was disbanded.
In 1933, Orchard Close was built on land that was once part of the parkland of Westfields estate and a new garden created which reflected in the Arts & Crafts style. In 1964 the house became a Respite Care Home run by Hampshire County Council. After major refurbishment of the house in the beginning of the 21st century, the garden was again redesigned to reflect the earlier Movement.
HGT Research: December 2002 updated 2022
1st & 3rd ed. 25″ OS maps (Hampshire County Council)
Strubbe, Christianne, 2009 Hampshire Gardens Trust Magazine, Issue Two, Autumn/Winter 2009 ‘Orchard Close, Hayling Island a Friend’s garden’ pp 22-24.