Bracken Hill House was built in 1886 for Walter Melville Wills, grandson of Henry Overton Wills, who founded the tobacco firm WD & HO Wills. To complement the architecture, the estate was created, with beautiful Victorian pleasure gardens; in 1959 these became the University of Bristol Botanical Gardens. Across the road from the original house was built a ‘Swiss Chalet’ which has some unique garden figures watching over the magical grotto and pond. Click here to see it.
The gardens are open to the residents of Leigh Woods and members of the Botanic Gardens twice a year. In April 2013 a large number took the opportunity to see the latest changes after the wave of building (see pictures - Bracken Hill Spring 2014). Some of the photos taken during the last Open Day on Saturday 4th October April 2014 can be seen on this page - Bracken Hill Autumn 2014.