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Head Gardener

National Trust
Speke Hall, The Walk, Liverpool, L24 1XD
£32,955 per annum
Closing date
2 Jun 2024

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Contract Type
Full Time
Gardening Jobs
Charity & Voluntary

Job Details

This is an exciting new opportunity to join us at Speke Hall, leading a team of brilliant, engaged, and talented gardeners who work to deliver horticultural excellence and incredible public benefit. Speke Hall has a 8-acre garden that surrounds the beautiful grade I listed house and consists of ornamental lawns, a productive kitchen garden and orchard, a stream garden, yews, ponds, and so much more. In addition we care for the domestic sized gardens at the childhood homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. 

As the General Manager for over 25 years, I have delighted in the transformation of the formal gardens under the stewardship of talented Head Gardeners. There is so much more to do here. The Head Gardener will be supported, and encouraged to continue the journey of improvement and development.

Hours: Full time 37.5 hours per week, includes some weekends and bank holidays on a Duty Manager Rota

Salary: £32,955pa

Contract: Permanent 

Interviews: 10th June which includes an orientation tour where you'll have a chance to meet some of the team you'll be working with

Please include a covering letter (no more than 1 page A4) with your application stating what key experience and practical skills make you the ideal candidate to take our aspirations forward.

If you have any questions about this role please contact either our General Manager: or our Gardens and Parkland Consultant:

Reporting to the General Manager, you'll play a key role in shaping our vision at the Liverpool properties portfolio. You’ll be part of our Property Leadership Team holding accountability for day to day maintenance and long-term planning for the garden. Your garden / office workload split is anticipated to be 70/30. 

Surrounded by 85 acres of woodland we welcome 225,000 visitors per year, Speke Hall is a fast-growing visitor business, and we have exciting plans, including restoring the grandeur of our gardens, inspired by a Garden Conservation Management Plan.

We all work to support each other each day, looking after each other's well-being and caring for this special place that visitors come to enjoy. You'll join this fantastic team and play an integral part in telling the story of Speke Hall and conserving it for years to come.

As Head Gardener you'll lead on ambitious garden restoration projects, giving you the opportunity for hands-on creativity and dynamic gardening as well as managing a team of two full time staff and a growing community of volunteers. Increasingly we manage our gardens with low or no pesticide input and more resilient to climate change needs. 

You'll share your passion for gardening by working with the visitor experience team to champion our cause and engage visitors with the beauty, nature and narratives of our garden. You’ll ensure everyone feels welcome through modelling inclusive leadership and working with other members of the team to make changes that improve access to the garden. Working relationship with experts from our internal consultancy, you'll connect yourself externally to ensure you are always learning from others and identifying partnership opportunities where relevant

You’ll set and deliver your own operating and conservation budgets and be responsible for the safety and compliance within the garden. You'll be responsible for strategising, organising and prioritising the team’s tasks, as well as your own. You’ll also be a key and effective member of the property leadership team as a head of department. You'll work to implement a robust Garden Management Plan, using the conservation management plan, to ensure a clear strategy for the garden at Speke Hall.

Ideally you'll have experience in a similar role and knowledge of managing a historic or public garden site, in all its complexity. 

We'd love to hear from you if you're:

  • horticulturally experienced, preferably in a similar role and visitor-facing setting, along with RHS level 2 in horticulture, or equivalent vocational experience
  • a leader of people, empathetic and willing to motivate and inspire your team of 3 staff and 60+ volunteers. 
  • able to carry out physically demanding tasks outdoors in all weathers, on a site with mixed topography and be a proficient computer user
  • competent in operating typical garden machinery and equipment
  • highly organised and focused, to deliver the departmental planning, budget management and compliance, as well as support for garden events and programming. 


There's no other organisation like the National Trust. No other organisation that brings such an amazing variety of places and spaces to life.

We are a charity founded in 1895 by Octavia Hill, Sir Robert Hunter and Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley, three people who saw the importance of our nation’s heritage and open spaces, and wanted to protect them for everyone to enjoy. More than a century after we were founded, our values are still at the heart of everything we do. And we do a lot more than you might think. 

We welcome some 22.5 million visitors, from all ages and backgrounds, every year. We care for historic houses, gardens, mills, forests, castles, miles of coastline, islands, holiday cottages, pubs and inns, whole villages and even a goldmine. We also run a huge retail chain, a multi-million pound food and beverage business and much, much more. And we do all of this so that everyone can enjoy and make the most of the green spaces and beautiful places that England, Wales and Northern Ireland has to offer. 

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 articles:

What makes the National Trust a special place to work?

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