Historic Gardens Join Letts Safari Network

Devon's Capability Brown gardens are establishing the 'Safari Garden'

The Capability Brown gardens at Mamhead Park have joined the Letts Safari Network of parks.


Take a quick video tour of the inner gardens.

These magnificent fifteen acre ‘cascade’ gardens overlooking the sea have completed a multi-year project to establish the concept of a ‘safari garden’. As a result, they can now join the Letts Safari Network. They also feature the first historic garden rewilding project and have achieved a number of important eco objectives.

We have long understood the concept of a ‘safari park’ The original safari park is Africa U.S.A. Park (1953–1961) in Florida. The first lion drive-through opened in 1963 in Tama Zoological Park in Tokyo. In double-glazed buses, visitors made a tour through a one-hectare enclosure with twelve African lions.

Letts Safari has modernised the concept of ‘safari park’, so that it can be visited online and is fully eco - removing carbon, reversing climate symptoms and enhancing biodiversity. Now we are introducing the idea of a ‘safari garden’, defined as ‘an area of garden where wildlife is established in the open and may be observed by wandering through’.

The Capability Brown gardens at Mamhead Park will act as a model to help establish mini Letts Safaris in your garden, school, work and in the community. We have set up a brand new channel at Letts Safari + called ‘Safari Gardens’ to unveil this extraordinary place and share its secret source with Letts Safari members.

Capability Brown, the world's most famous landscaper, spent a year at these gardens and 250 years ago created his purest seascape and most intimate garden. He even built a lake in the gardens on the side of Haldon Hill by installing a vast man made bank of rock and soil quarried from a small valley next to it. Today the lake is an oasis for fish, birds, newts and dragonfly.

The Letts Safari team and a host of specialist gardeners started to renovate these gardens in 2015 bringing in around 5,000 new eco plants and introducing wetland, surround hedging, wild grassland and wildflower meadow.

These gardens have already achieved a number of climate objectives. Around 500 trees remove up to a tonne of carbon a year. Its lake, bog gardens, wetlands and wild shrub remove even more CO2.

Three quarters of the UK’s bat species have been monitored foraging in these gardens. They also host all four of the animals on England’s red list of most at risk mammals. The water vole has been reintroduced. And the grey long-eared bat forages freely.

Some of Britain's rarest butterflies flutter freely in this place, including a number of sought after Fritillaries. In a sunny summer day you can see butterflies, bees and other insects buzzing around en masse. As a human being you feel very much a part of the wildlife in this place, a guest, as it were.

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Foxes, badgers and birds of prey circle, while weasel and stoat complete the garden predator list. Yet rabbits and hares are well established. They mingle with an abundant variety of vertebrates and invertebrates.

Ancient flower beds have been rearranged to provide cover for wildlife, carbon storing shrubs and trees as well as a large range of plants that nourish the soil and support pollinators year round. Flowers bloom 364 days a year - so there are always insects and birds to observe.

The plants, shrubs and trees naturally regenerate, creating a wild breeding place to be marvelled at. All new trees using Letts Safari’s re-planting system are bred here.

The amazing mix of rare and massive trees host a diverse array of birds including birds of prey alongside an exhaustive list of small and medium sized birds. The birdsong in these gardens is at times almost deafening.

The gardens even host a sculpture park dedicated to environmental art.

There are over a billion gardens worldwide. If we were to set up a mini Letts Safari in each of them we would go some way to reducing the climate and biodiversity crisis.

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Join us at ‘Safari Gardens’, Letts Safari’s new channel dedicated to safari gardens.


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