Woolbeding Gardens


The striking glasshouse was approved by the South Downs National Park Authority in March 2019

Woolbeding Gardens belong to a beautiful National Trust property in West Sussex. BECG worked collaboratively with the development team to provide community and stakeholder engagement on an exciting project within the grounds of the estate: a striking and elegant ten-sided bespoke glasshouse, with associated landscaping and planting representing flora from the habitats (designed by Fergus Garrett of Great Dixter) through which the ancient Silk Road passes.

The glasshouse was designed by the world-renowned Heatherwick Studio and forms the final legacy from the philanthropy of the late Simon Sainsbury, who had lived at Woolbeding House and whose surviving partner Stewart Grimshaw restored the Gardens, maintaining a keen interest in the flora of the Silk Road as a dynamic element in the ongoing story of English horticulture.

Given the sensitivity of the site’s location, and the unconventional nature of the design, we were keen to ensure that the local community was fully engaged throughout the project. We also worked to engage with a wide range of local stakeholders, from The National Trust to the South Downs National Park Authority, and local councils.  We took particular care to anticipate and then include stakeholder feedback, and ensure that the plans were communicated in a way which would allay any concerns, allowing the community to focus on the positive contribution which the project will undoubtedly make to the gardens at Woolbeding, as well as the wider National Park.

The proposals were supported by Woolbeding Parish Council and other local stakeholders, and were approved by the South Downs National Park Authority in March 2019, representing a fabulous new chapter in the history of Woolbeding Gardens.

The team from BECG demonstrated great professionalism and skill, working hard from the outset and providing sound advice to help the success of this exceptional project. 

Mark Woodruff, The Woolbeding Charity