Head Gardener

National Trust
Cragside, Rothbury, Morpeth, NE65 7PX
£32,000 pa
Closing date
26 Jun 2022
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Job Details

Does managing a Grade I listed fantasy landscape located in the spectacular North East countryside sound like your dream job? Created by Lord and Lady Armstrong, this historic pleasure ground is almost 17 hectares. It’s unique Formal Garden, Rock Garden, Pinetum and Valley Garden awed their guests and still wow our visitors today. As our Head Gardener, with your infectious, can-do attitude, you will bring these magical gardens to life. In this hands-on horticultural role, you will enjoy working alongside your team and leading them in the maintenance, presentation and development of Cragside’s gardens. Whatever the season, your leadership will ensure a memorable, and colourful, experience for all our visitors. 

Please apply with your CV and tell us in covering note 'Why would the Head Gardener role at Cragside be your ideal job?'

Relocation package is available for this role.

The interviews will be held between 5th and 7th July 2022.

What it's like to work here

Cragside is one of the most popular visitor attractions in the North East, welcoming around 250,000 every year. Located in stunning rural Northumberland, but only 30 miles from the vibrant city of Newcastle, working at Cragside allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds. With less congested travel than many parts of the UK and beautiful surroundings, the quality of life in Northumberland is great.

The high performing team you will be joining is experienced in a broad range of disciplines. Everyone works closely together to look after Cragside for our visitors – both present and future – to enjoy. 

You will thrive when working in collaboration. In particular, you will work closely with the Property Curator, as well as other heads of department, to provide a holistic and exceptional visitor experience across the property. Regional colleagues will be able to offer a range of advice and services for you to draw upon. This includes great horticultural support from the Garden Consultant for the North East & Yorkshire, offering the opportunity to deepen your existing knowledge

Click here for more information about this location

What you'll be doing

As Head Gardener, you'll be leading a team of three regular gardeners, along with seasonal gardeners, all eager to deliver their very best. They are ably supported by a small number of volunteers.

You’ll employ your horticultural knowledge, experience, and talent to implement high standards of garden maintenance and lead on the development of new aspects of the gardens. Much of your work will be hands-on horticulture, leading your team out in the gardens. There will be an administrative element, too, managing budgets and ensuring that the gardens are fully compliant with healthy and safety guidelines. You’ll be a strong people manager; proactively developing work programmes and your team’s skills.

Among our exciting priorities for the next few years is the restoration of the Orchard House – a nineteenth century glasshouse that is the centre-piece of the Formal Garden. This work will be led by the Property Curator and will be benefitted from the contribution of your practical horticultural knowledge. 

The working pattern is Tuesday to Saturday and you will be part of the duty manager rota for daily operations on the property.

If you'd like further details, please contact our Property Curator, Clara, at clara.woolford@nationaltrust.org.uk

Who we're looking for

  • An experienced gardener with strong horticultural education, training and experience – minimum RHS level 3 or equivalent 
  • A good team leader, able to set clear objectives for your staff and proactively manage performance and development 
  • Able to demonstrate an understanding of the importance of the garden’s historic significance in its maintenance and development 
  • Competent with budgets, planning work programmes etc
  • Experienced with relevant health & safety best practice 
  • Aware of the benefits good volunteer management can bring 
  • The holder of a full UK driving licence




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?

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