A GARDEN that has opened to the public for more than seven decades will remain closed this year after severe storm damage from earlier this year.
Robert and Ann Mainwaring were due to open Oteley, on the outskirts of Ellesmere, to the public earlier this month as part of the National Gardens Scheme.
But high winds in February brought down more than seven trees in the 10-acre garden and caused extensive damage to the walls of the boathouse.
Mrs Mainwaring said: “The main problem was that more than seven large mature trees came down because of the winds and caused a lot of damage to the boathouse.
“The top of the boathouse has come down because of the impact. Now we are waiting for the stone masons to come back here to fix it.
“I felt terrible seeing the damage, it is horrible and it was almost more terrible when the trees were taken off because you could see even more damage.
“It is simply too dangerous to open to the public, there is a 15-foot drop from where the wall has been damaged. The boathouse is dated from 1820 and this is the first time it has been that badly damaged.
“We won’t be opening the garden this year, my heart isn’t in it after what’s happened.”
She added that the garden may open to the public again in 2015.
Mr and Mrs Mainwaring have opened the garden almost every year for three decades, raising money through donations, and Mr Mainwaring’s ancestors opened the garden to the public after its first opening in 1927.