Cannington Priory (later Cannington Court) was first established in about 1138 by the De Courcy family - lords of nearby Stogursey.
The manor and church was given by Robert De Courcy as the main endowment for a house of Benedictine nuns. The buildings and gardens have a very long history and have always played an important part in the life of the local community.
In 1536 the Nunnery was dissolved and the Court was held by Edward Rogers, a Member of Parliament for Somerset. In 1672, Charles II granted Cannington to Lord Clifford of Chudleigh. In 1919 the tenth Lord Clifford granted the lease of Cannington Court to Somerset County Council. The house and buildings were adapted for Somerset College of Agriculture and Horticulture, known as Somerset Farm Institute. The successor to the institute was Cannington College, which became nationally known for its provision of land-based education, including horticulture.
Cannington College merged with Bridgwater College in 2004, which has allowed significant investment in facilities and equipment, including the redevelopment of the Walled Gardens; these were officially opened by HRH the Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward in 2009.
The Gardens have classic and contemporary features such as the 'hot' Herbaceous Border; the Blue Garden; the Sub-Tropical Walk; and a Victorian style fernery, amongst others. There is also a Botanical Glasshouse where arid, sub-tropical and tropical plants can be seen and two smaller gardens within the walls (The Bishop's and Australasian Gardens) are areas of real tranquillity. The Gardens are also home to a Plant Heritage National Plant Collections of Deschampsia and Santolina, which are displayed in a modern prairie style planting in the Collections Garden.
Now in their 24th season, Rare Plant Fairs are held in beautiful and prestigious gardens, each with its own unique character, from those with histories stretching back centuries to more modern gardens created in recent years. A day out at one of our fairs a really enjoyable and inspiring experience for everyone, whether a novice or experienced gardener.
The nurseries that attend our Fairs are carefully selected to ensure that they are genuine growers who produce most or all of the plants that they sell themselves. We try offer the widest possible range of plants to our visitors, including perennials, shrubs and trees, alpines, bulbs and exotic plants, and all of our nursery owners are experts in the plants that they grow. They are all always happy to offer all the advice that you need to select and grow the right plants for your garden.
The fair will be open from 10am to 4pm, and adult entry to the fair and garden is just £5. Light lunches and refreshments are available. Well-behaved dogs on a short lead are allowed in the Fair and Gardens
Full details, including a list of the nurseries attending the event, can be found at www.rareplantfair.co.uk
The Walled Gardens of Cannington Church Street Cannington Nr Bridgwater Somerset TA5 2HA