The gardens of a listed 17th century hall will be open to the public as part of the 24th annual Open Gardens event.

More than 30 venues will be allowing the public in to have a root around in their gardens, in aid of St Clare Hospice, from May to July.

One of the gardens opening its gates belongs to former St Clare Hospice Chairman and Deputy Lieutenant of Essex, Michael Chapman.

The garden sits in the grounds of the Grade II listed 17th century Goosebury Hall includes a labyrinth for visitors to explore.

Michael Chapman, who was Chairman of St Clare Hospice from 2000 to 2009, was moved to open his garden in support of St Clare following the death of his wife Janet at the Hospice in January 2016.

He said: “We moved to Goosebury Hall over 30 years ago and when we first arrived the garden was non-existent – it was just a muddy paddock. It was a blank canvas for Jan to design upon! Over the years Jan and I worked together to create the garden.

"Jan was very much the designer, and I did the handiwork – together we made the garden into a real haven. The garden is registered with the national Quiet Gardens Movement and is full of secluded nooks and crannies to sit alone, meditate and enjoy the tranquility of the surroundings.

“I am delighted to open the garden for this wonderful St Clare event and look forward to people enjoying the beauty of the garden which Jan helped to create.”

The 2018 St Clare Open Gardens event is being held on various weekends starting on Saturday May 19 and continuing until Sunday July 1 at venues around Harlow, Thornwood and Epping.

Open Gardens event organisers are hoping to raise more than £5,000 for the Hospice across the summer season.

Goosebury Hall will be opening on May 27 and May 28 and is located at Epping Upland.

St Clare Patron and BBC One Show gardener, Christine Walkden, will once again be supporting St Clare’s Open Gardens and will be attending the opening of the Goosebury Hall garden from 10am to 11am on May 27.

Entry to Goosebury Hall is payable on the gate and costs £5. Refreshments will be on sale at the garden.

A free guidebook which includes details of each of the participating gardens or groups of gardens, and the cost of entry, can be picked up in any of the 8 St Clare Hospice charity shops, or at the Hospice Reception.

For more information call Dani on 01279 773738 or email

For a full list of the participating gardens and their opening dates, visit: