Claire Woods appointed as Gardens Manager at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens

18 March 2019

18 March 2019

Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity that looks after Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, has appointed Claire Woods as their new Gardens Manager.

Bringing a life-long passion for horticulture and over 30 years’ professional experience, Claire will lead a team of experts, caring for and growing in Hillsborough Castle’s important and historic gardens. These cover 100 acres of ornamental grounds, peaceful woodland, meandering waterways and picturesque glens.

Claire’s role will include managing the ongoing maintenance, and the growing in of the new schemes in the Castle grounds, from implementing spectacular planting schemes to coordinating all horticultural training onsite. She will also oversee the continual work in re-presenting the Castle’s four-acre Walled Garden and the development of a Lost Garden.      

Claire Woods, Gardens Manager at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, said: “I am delighted to have been appointed as Gardens Manager at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens. It’s a fantastic time to join the team and whilst we have almost completed a major project to transform large parts of the grounds, we have further ambitions to continually develop these areas across the seasons.

“As an enthusiastic ‘plants’ person I’m keen to explore how we develop the plant collection to create picturesque views and use locally grown and native plants in gardens and grounds to promote biodiversity and sustainability. I am looking forward to welcoming visitors to explore Hillsborough Castle’s stunning gardens in April and beyond.”

Claire brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the role, through previous roles with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. She has continually advocated the importance of horticulture for all, from the production of food crops to the creation of aesthetically beautiful and historic green spaces in which to live, work and play.

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens will open daily to the public from 18 April 2019, following a five-year, £24 million investment and project transformation.

Claire succeeds Stephen Martelli, following his 14 years at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens as Gardens & Estates Manager.

Notes to editors

Historic Royal Palaces is investing £24m into an ambitious programme of capital projects and associated activities that will open the site to the widest possible audience; conserve and re-present the heritage; explore its stories and engage communities and learners. The Hillsborough Castle project has received a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and significant support from Mark Pigott KBE, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Clore Duffield Foundation, The Foyle Foundation, The Wolfson Foundation and other generous benefactors.

Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and Hillsborough Castle and Gardens.  We help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built. We raise all our own funds and depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, sponsors and volunteers. With the exception of Hillsborough Castle, these palaces are owned by The Queen on behalf of the nation, and we manage them for the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Historic Royal Palaces cares for Hillsborough Castle under a separate contract with the Northern Ireland Office. Registered charity number 1068852. For more information visit