The Wear and the Gardens

In the 17th century the River Wear, and its tributary Old Durham Beck, lay much closer to Old Durham than it does now. When John Heath IV laid out his gardens he would have wanted water close by; it was an important component in contemporary garden design. At its NW corner the walled gardens originally reached the river bank, so to protect the wall base from being washed away, a stone abutment was added – the platform you are standing on. This was, half-jokingly, called ‘the jetty’ during the recent restoration, but it is just possible that John Heath may have been able to get on a boat, if not here then near here, and travel into Durham. Move to the bottom of the stone steps, following the wall, noting a wall recess en route.

How the garden may have appeared circa 1730