WHEN you hear 'The Secret Garden', you likely think of the classic novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, published in 1911.

But what you may not realise is that Basingstoke has a secret garden of its very own.

The Walled Garden, located at Down Grange Sports Complex on Pack Lane, is an often-missed beauty spot that rivals the picturesque greenery within the pages of any book.

The Walled Garden which dates back to the 1800s, is a hidden gem which once served as a kitchen garden to Down Grange House.

Today it operates as a public garden and wildlife area, and is an idyllic location for wedding receptions and private functions.

The garden is ordinarily open from 9am until sunset, as well as for private bookings, and an admission fee is only charged to visitors on event days.

It is also a dog-friendly area, provided they are kept on leads while within the gardens walls.

Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 restrictions it has not been able to play host to gatherings over the past year, but the borough council hopes to open the area for bookings once more in the near future.

The enclosed area of approximately two acres boasts a wildlife pond and dipping platform, a Bothy building, show allotments, beehives and colourful herbaceous borders.

Historic, original features still remain today, including the formal yew hedges and gothic gate.

The Bothy includes toilets and kitchenette area, which is also available to book for events.

All in all, it makes for a delightful visit, especially as Spring begins and more frequent sunny weather is (hopefully) on the horizon.

For more information on Basingstoke's secret garden, visit: basingstoke.gov.uk/walledgarden