Brief history of the estate

“He has made everything beautiful in its time” is a fitting reflection with respect to all gardens and grounds, so what makes The River School (TRS) estate so beautiful and distinctive? Like every place it is the “back story” of its existence that adds that lustre of unique attractiveness that might cause people to seek to appreciate it.


On becoming Oakfield House and an 11 1/2 acre estate around 1825, and onwards to the present day, there has been a dramatic increase in the human stories and marks of occupation associated with it. For over half of this time the estate has been involved in education and training by five different organisations, two of which are especially significant.


From 1955 to 1984 it was a teacher training centre for people engaged in some way with horticulture. The grounds enjoyed such a reputation that visitors came from 56 nations to visit it, with at least eight of these going back to their own countries to found horticultural colleges of their own. From the walled gardens, orchards and long borders, through the Dell and Forest School pool, etc. there is yet being discovered a wide range of flora and fauna, high status trees and shrubs.


The River School has owned and run the estate since 1985 and because of the Christian ethos, it has always put a high premium on valuing Creation Care within our curriculum. So much new work has been carried out over the last three years to renovate the gardens that some have dubbed, “Worcester’s Heligan”. The story of its development has been captured in photos, alongside our ongoing strategy to develop our Forest School and Greenhouse areas. Why not weave your garden interest into our botanic tapestry by visiting us? We are now a part of the National Garden Scheme holding Open Days twice a year – beginning on 7th April 2018.