Families living at Arlington Court have been helping to care for the National Trust site while it remains closed.

The walled kitchen garden at Arlington Court is being tended by families living in staff accommodation.The walled kitchen garden at Arlington Court is being tended by families living in staff accommodation.

Most of the trust’s staff have been furloughed, with a small team on hand to carry out essential tasks.

With only one of the garden team available to tend to the Victorian gardens, the trust has given three families living in staff accommodation a plot of land each to cultivate in.

The walled kitchen garden, which would usually be used for fruit and vegetables for the tea room, is now being shaped by the families, who have already starting work rotavating the soil and sowing seeds.

The remaining gardener, Beccy Hanson, thinks it will be a surprising change for regular visitors when they are able to return.

Work on the plot in the walled kitchen garden at Arlington Court. Picture: Tim GoddenWork on the plot in the walled kitchen garden at Arlington Court. Picture: Tim Godden

Beccy said: “I’m expecting our walled kitchen garden to look very different this year, a family veggie patch instead of the usual ordered kitchen garden designed to feed a grand house.

“The garden is very sheltered and fertile, the perfect growing space, so I’m sure they will be picking and eating the rewards of their efforts very soon.

“It’s nice to know the garden is being tended and enjoyed by at least three families while we are closed.”

Arlington’s visitor operations and experience manager, Kate Godden and her husband Tim are tending one of the plots with their little helper, two-year-old Fernley.

Kate said: “It’s such an odd time for us all right now but it’s great to have the opportunity to help out the team here and grow some of our own veggies along the way. None of us have undertaken any gardening quite like this before so it’s been a good challenge.”