Based: Raby Castle
Reports to: Head of Leisure and Tourism
Liaising with: Lord and Lady Barnard
Hours: Full-time, Permanent 40 hours per week
Salary: On application, to include accommodation, company pension
and other benefits
Closing Date: Friday 29th October 2021
Interview Date: November and December 2021


The Raby Estate is about to embark upon the largest single project for generations. Known as The Rising, the project will involve the restoration and repurposing of heritage buildings at Raby Castle, a new visitor carpark, play area, events space, café and visitor centre as well as redesign of the historic walled garden.

The Rising presents a unique and rare opportunity to join Raby as Head Gardener, based at the landmark location of Raby Castle. This really is the role of a lifetime for a creative professional, looking for the perfect setting to showcase their skills. We are looking for a passionate individual who will lead this captivating development and nurture the regeneration of Raby Castle’s expansive Walled Garden and wider landscape.

The role

The five acre Walled Garden is being reimagined by designer Luciano Giubbilei and work on site is due to begin in the Spring of 2022. The intention is to have a Head Gardener on board as an active member of the team from the very beginning, to share in the collective passion for the project, participating and contributing throughout the implementation of the garden and beyond.

All areas outside the walled garden accessible to the pubic are being designed by Alistair W Baldwin Associates, encompassing the car-park, café gardens, setting to the new visitor centre, reimagined flower gardens and newly designed gathering spaces next to some of the key historical buildings.

We are seeking an experienced and ambitious Head Gardener to make their mark and play a key role in the ongoing establishment and enrichment of a beautiful and complex garden scheme, which will welcome thousands of visitors each year.

In the Walled Garden, the fascinating scheme comprises of a perennial flower garden, a landscaped amphitheatre, woodland gardens, formal gardens including maze, ancient elephantine yew hedges, graceful water features, a cutting garden, productive vegetable beds, a greenhouse and cold frames, with hedges and specimen trees throughout. While outside the Walled Garden the new landscape will include a network of paths and steps, terraced lawns, external dining areas, an extensive decorative woodland walk, topiary, hedging, trees, a small productive garden, native infrastructural planting in the car park and two hard surfaced events spaces.

The position will involve close working with Lord and Lady Barnard, to achieve their ambitions for the gardens, as well as day to day hands on leadership and supervision of a team of gardeners, in all aspects of the horticulturally diverse and developing garden and wider landscape areas. Applications are sought from qualified and experienced Head or Senior Gardeners with high energy and a creative eye.

The Head Gardener, with support from the General Manager, full-time gardening and landscaping team, plus volunteers is responsible for all aspects of horticulture and presentation within the walled garden and wider landscaped areas, as well as garden facilities and irrigation.  Including the five acre Walled Garden, the entire site extends to approximately 24 acres. As well as managing the gardening team (consisting of three at present) the successful applicant will also be involved with the further recruitment of garden and landscape staff to support the extended scheme.

The Head Gardener must be an excellent communicator and able to manage colleagues with diplomacy and positivity. The team will be multi-disciplined and responsible not only for the Walled Garden but for the wider landscaped areas throughout the visitor attraction. The successful candidate will be skilled in deploying staff throughout the site, allowing for seasonal requirements and periods of high-volume visitor numbers.

There is a significant opportunity at Raby to develop skills, offer apprenticeships and extend volunteering roles. Experience of sharing skills; coaching and mentoring teams to deliver great results would be advantageous.

This list is not exhaustive, and you will be required to carry out any other reasonable tasks arising from time to time, when required by managers.

Full details are available in the Job Description.


What we need to see

  • We are looking for someone who has previous experience in a management role within a garden, open to the public.
  • An ability to manage budgets effectively and competence in all areas of health and safety are essential.
  • Confidence in public speaking, hosting guided tours, horticultural events and workshops is also required.
  • You need to have a flexible approach to duties, work well within a team and independently, be organised and an effective communicator. We’re looking for someone who can show honesty, integrity, enthusiasm and capacity for hard work and attention to detail with a cheerful approach and ‘can do’ problem solving attitude.
  • RHS level 2/ RHS level 3 or equivalent qualifications are preferred.
  • A valid UK driving licence is required.

What we’ve got to offer

This role offers a career defining opportunity at one of the country’s finest historic locations and the chance to be involved at such an important stage in our expansion.

We offer a group pension scheme, life assurance, 25 days holiday plus bank holidays, and numerous staff benefits such as discounts at all retail outlets and free access to Raby Estates visitor attractions.

Accommodation can be provided for the successful applicant, subject to requirements


How to apply

If you feel you have the necessary skills, experience and personality to undertake this role, please apply using the button below. The closing date for this role is 29th October 2021 and we expect to hold interviews immediately thereafter.

Apply Here

To hear about upcoming Raby events and news, click HERE to sign up to our e-newsletter.