Senior Gardener

National Trust
Riddlesden, Keighley
£24,075 per annum (pro rata)
Closing date
18 Apr 2021

Job Details

The senior gardener will lead on the management of the gardens and grounds by involving volunteers in almost every aspect of the site. Our volunteers have been amazing and have kept the gardens looking fantastic during the past year whilst many staff have been on furlough.

The spaces that the senior gardener will be responsible for include the main small formal garden behind the house but also the wild garden and other informal spaces including adding the finishing touches to the almost complete sensory garden. The area in front of the house leading to the wedding barn will also be a key part of the role – including lawns, pond, gravel areas and small wildflower meadow. The senior gardener will work closely with the Visitor Experience Offer to manage the wild play area and bird hide.

The senior gardener will also work closely with the Ranger who will lead on managing the car parks and fields used for informal recreation and grazed by sheep and cattle. The Ranger will also lead on tree safety across the whole site.

The senior gardener will be required to support at Nostell throughout the year as and when required – this presents an opportunity to work with the wider gardening team in the Nostell and West Yorkshire portfolio.

This is an exciting role with a lot of flexibility in terms of how the spaces are managed in the future.

What it's like to work here

East Riddlesden Hall is an intimate 17th-century manor house, built above the River Aire and once the heart of the agricultural estate of Riddlesden. It is a green haven on the edge or urban Keighley and is set in attractive grounds with mature beech trees. Most of the garden is situated at the rear of the Hall and from its herb border it has extensive views of the Aire Valley as the garden sits on a rise of land. Your first impression of the place centres on the pond, gently framed by house and trees. It is a simple setting and apparently little changed from early illustrations of the Hall.

In 1934 under threat of demolition, the hall was purchased by two Keighley brothers, William and John Brigg who presented it to the National Trust. The formal gardens which you see today were not laid out until 1972 and since this date the gardens have been extended beyond the original garden walls. The dramatic façade of the Starkie Wing provides a delightful backdrop to this intimate garden designed by Graham Stuart Thomas. Planted with mixed herbaceous borders, trained fruit trees, lavender and herb border, based on Culpepper’s Herbal. Formality is provided by a sunken rose garden and low box hedges. The orchard garden, developed by the gardener and volunteers, is planted with old varieties of Yorkshire apple trees, wild flowers, bulbs and perennials, to provide a changing carpet of colour throughout the seasons.

The 2 acre ornamental garden is set within 12 acres of designed landscape and 42 acres of agricultural ground which incorporates a circular walk close to the River Aire. The garden itself is at an elevation of 250m as it sits on a promontory with views over the Aire Valley. 

What you'll be doing

You’ll love working outdoors and understand that our gardens and grounds are as significant as our countryside, mansion houses, collections and our historical places. Our visitors tell us how much they enjoy the peace and tranquillity of our well-kept outdoor spaces, which makes your role vital in making sure our visitors have an amazing experience.

The Nostell and West Yorkshire Group are key Land, Outdoors and Nature (LON) deliverers in the region. The senior gardener will build these LON messages into the interpretation of the gardens and include examples of best practice in all parts of the garden and grounds. 

We host over 100 weddings per year and the income generated is vital to pay for conservation of our buildings, gardens and countryside. Exceptional levels of presentation will be required throughout the year to support our wedding business. 

We don’t just need you to manage our beautiful gardens, although this is an important part of the role; we’d like you to lead the volunteer gardening team too. As the Senior Gardener we’d like you to lead by example, with exceptional gardening skills and deliver exceptional training and development to volunteers.

Please also read the full role profile attached to this advert.

Who we're looking for


  • Significant practical experience in horticulture supported by relevant qualifications
  • Have supervisory experience from a similar role
  • Excellent knowledge of plants
  • Competent with the use and maintenance of garden machinery including chainsaws, tractors, hedge trimmers, pedestrian and ride on mowers
  • Knowledge of relevant health and safety legislation and practice

The package

Benefits for working at the National Trust:

  • Flexible working whenever possible
  • Free parking at most locations
  • Discounts in high street stores, cinemas, National Trust properties and cafes.
  • Free entry to our properties for you, a guest and your children (under 18)
  • Generous annual leave
  • Subsidised health cash plan
  • Free 24-hour support service
  • Substantial pension scheme of up to 10% basic salary
  • Training & Development tailored to you
  • Up to 5 days of paid volunteering for you.


The National Trust is described by its employee gardeners as “dynamic, supportive, inquisitive and fun”, where its beautiful places “lift your spirits naturally” and “somewhere you can expand new skills”. The organisation is currently recruiting for a number of gardening roles. 

Read more in our latest Wonderful Workplaces articles:

Do you have the vision to transform our outdoor spaces for the future?

What makes the National Trust a special place to work?

Find Us
United Kingdom

Get job alerts

Create a job alert and receive personalised job recommendations straight to your inbox.

Create alert

Similar Jobs