The 18th century terraced gardens are spread over six levels with stunning herbaceous borders planted at their base.
The first terrace, known as the Pretty Terrace may have been used as a bowling green.
Explore the woods above the terraces. Although overgrown, the Wildlife Trust has cleared many of the paths with remains of stone walls and stone edging along some of the tracks.
The gardens are open on several afternoons a week from April until the end of September – check the website for details.
National Trust members visit for free.
Incorporating the mid-13th century tower into the battlements, Clevedon was built by Sir John de Clevedon in c.1320. It is described as ‘one of the most valuable relics of early domestic architecture in England.’
Abraham Elton, a successful Bristol merchant who made much of his money from the slave trade, bought the property in 1709. Abraham and his son also called Abraham, restored the house and created the terraced gardens. [There’s a wonderful painting of the gardens from this period at the top of the stairs in the house – don’t miss.]
The Octagon and Summerhouse at either end of the Pretty Terrace were added by Sir Abraham Elton IV in 1760s.
Gertrude Jekyll includes a reference to Clevedon in her book Walls and Water Gardens (1901). Critical of the planting scheme on the Middle Terrace, she felt the choice of plants on the Upper Terrace was unforgiveable: ‘But the planting at its base seems in these more horticulturally enlightened days to be quite indefensible. The foot of one of the noblest ranges of terraces walls in England is too good to be given over to the most commonplace forms of bedding.’
Clevedon was given to the National Trust although the Elton family still live in the house.