Hornbeam Paddock as it is now

We are very excited to announce a new project working with blind and partially-sighted people to co-create a multi-sensory heritage experience, in the form of a sensory garden. This project is part of our two-year Heritage Without Barriers programme funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.  

Once completed, the garden will be open for all visitors to West Horsley Place to enjoy for free when the manor house and gardens are open, bringing wellbeing benefits to everyone. The area identified for this regenerative project is the Hornbeam Paddock, once defined by stunning herbaceous borders and now long-neglected. 

The project will be led by specialist facilitator Heather Thomas and our own Matt Link. Heather has worked with people of all ages to inspire creativity and learning through the arts and heritage. We are also consulting the Gardens Trust and Seeability on the garden- we hope it will be something very special. 

Estate & Gardens Manager Matt Link,

"We are so pleased that this area of the garden that’s been neglected since the post-war period is having life breathed back into it so we can have an active area that people can enjoy with beautiful smells, sounds and tactile surfaces.

Hornbeam Paddock as it is nowJo Ellison, Community Engagement Project Coordinator,

"We are excited to hear from people who are blind, partially-blind or have any kind of sight impairment, developing the garden from their feedback to create a space which can be as accessible as possible to be enjoyed by all our visitors."

Heather Thomas, Project Lead, 

"Being able to see, smell, taste and touch in a sensory garden, can have positive effects on your wellbeing, whether by feeling calmer, happier or more connected to your surroundings."

Audio interview

Listen to an interview from Dorking Talking Newspaper about the project here:


We will also be offering audio-descriptive tours for blind and partially blind guests to experience the house in 2023.

Thank you to Lottery Players for enabling this project to happen. 

Made possible with National Lottery Heritage Fund logo