One of Huddersfield’s most unusual gardens is open to the public twice this month.

The garden set into the hillside at Scapegoat Hill has been featured on BBC2 Gardeners’ World and will be open this Sunday, May 5, and the following Sunday, May 12, from 1.30pm to 4.30pm.

The garden can’t be seen from anywhere until you’re actually in it and is owned by Elizabeth and David Smith (below) who spend countless hours every year transforming it into a show garden that people pay to visit to raise money for charity via the National Garden Scheme.

The terraced garden is at Scape Lodge, 11 Grandstand, Scapegoat Hill and visitors are urged to park in the car park at the nearby Scapegoat Hill Baptist Church on School Road (sat nav is HD7 4NU) which is just a couple minutes’ walk away.

Entrance is £5 for adults with children free. Plants will also be on sale.

All proceeds go to charities supported by the National Garden Scheme which raises around £3m a year nationally shared between several charities including the Carers Trust, Marie Curie, Macmillan Cancer Support, Parkinson’s UK and countless hospices.

Just 22 years ago this spectacular hillside garden was rough grass and heather moorland at the top of an old stone quarry.

The garden is built on a steep slope that’s more than 1,000ft above sea level – and as you look east it’s reputedly the highest spot between Huddersfield and the Ural Mountains 2,250 miles away in central Russia.

The couple moved in 12 years ago, eight years after the previous owners had started work on the garden which is around a third of an acre.

The garden has gravel paths with steps leading to a terraced kitchen and cutting garden. It has a shed, a greenhouse, a gazebo and two small ponds, one featuring fish and the other full of frogs and toad tadpoles.

David said: “We enjoy opening up our garden for the National Garden Scheme as we want to share our interest and knowledge with other gardeners. It’s also great to see so many people enjoying it.”


The soil ranges from dry and sandy to heavy clay and some parts get very wet from water running down the hill.

Elizabeth is the garden designer and planner who nurtures the seeds and cuttings and looks for colour and foliage combinations. She’s also built box beds and terracing to cope with the steep slope.

David, former director of resources at Kirklees Council, concentrates on the vegetable garden and maintaining the grass slope. In the summer both can be hard at work all day in the garden.

Elizabeth said: “I like the garden to look natural rather than disciplined and we want it to sit comfortably in the landscape with a slightly wild feel to match the climate.

“Gardeners’ World described it as ‘immersive’ and while many gardens have small plants at the front with taller ones at the back, we let ours seed into the gravel on the paths so you can get tall plants anywhere. I love walking between plants that are taller than me and being completely surrounded by them. I get upset if I see plants bundled up and restricted.”

When it comes to the kitchen garden the couple grow all kinds of vegetables including brussel sprouts, broccoli, potatoes, runner beans, French beans, pumpkins, courgettes and salad.

Elizabeth and David are both voluntary assistant county organisers for the National Garden Scheme in South and West Yorkshire.

Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.

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