The Tapeley Park permaculture garden is one of the oldest in the UK and was first established by Hector Christie in 1990, inspired by the work of the horticulturalist, Robert Hart. Working with – rather than fighting – nature is at the heart of the permaculture ethos, creating a managed wildness with trees, shrubs and perennials.

At the heart of Tapeley’s sustainability ethos,  the permaculture garden was developed under the guidance of head gardener Jennifer Hayns for 15 years before the mantle was taken over by  Holly Van Heffernan in 2019.

Many visitors remark upon the abundance of bees and insects found in the permaculture garden. The hum of insect life is constant amongst the serpentine paths that reveal new secrets behind every corner. A QR code trail informs visitors of the edible uses and medicinal properties of plants found in the Tapeley Park permaculture garden.

Highlights include Chilean guava berry shrubs, domesticated Sea Buckthorn, Nashi pear and Siberian Kiwi fruit trees.  In summer the garden provides a smorgasbord of edibles and, with guidance from the permaculture garden team, visitors are invited to tour and taste such delights as Sezchuan pepper berries, Fennel, Shiso Perilla and a host of berries.


Sustainability is at the core of the Tapeley Park estate and ethos. Hector Christie has been a passionate campaigner for this cause for over 30 years, and in that time sustainability has shifted from fringe interest to mainstream acceptability.

Thanks to the internet people around the world are far more aware of the detrimental effects of pollution caused by non-renewable energy, the devastation of environments and the negative effects on the health of societies created by mass produced food.

Hector was an early advocate of the benefits of organic farming and has been pioneering experiments in sustainability since the 1990s. Amidst the sculpted gardens, lakes and old woodlands of Tapeley Park he established sustainability projects which are well regarded around the world – from the permaculture garden and straw bale house to solar power and hemp production on the wider estate.

View the Tapeley Sustainability Website