Bellevue consists of a terrace of 19 houses built between 1782 and 1815 with two communal gardens. Its 18th century pleasure gardens are divided between two areas: the East side, looking to Brandon Hill, where 2.5 acres of woodland garden fall towards Jacobs Wells Road; and a one-acre planted garden opposite the Georgian terrace on the West side, below Clifton Hill House.
For many years the gardens were poorly tended, but in the past 25 years they have been turned into a pleasant garden, enjoyed by residents and visitors.
Bellevue is a private garden maintained by the residents of Bellevue (not Terrace) but the West garden is open for all to enjoy. It is a very peaceful garden and a pleasure to be in on a sunny spring day. Over the years the residents have planted thousands of bulbs. These bloom most intensely in the spring months, until late May when the canopy comes into full leaf. Flowering starts with winter hellebore and drifts of snowdrops. Next, February gold and other varieties of daffodil complement euphorbia for a few weeks of bright yellow. March and April bring a mass of colour with varieties of tulip, under flowering magnolia and fruit trees; then in May the borders turn purple with alliums and iris.
Bellevue East garden remains largely woodland, and work-in-progress. Originally landscaped as the Pleasure Gardens, by 2000 they were completely grown and in complete disrepair. Since then the residents’ Association has uncovered and reconstituted the original paths and started to create a managed woodland garden. It is now a wonderful secluded garden – but in places the paths are crumbling and with steep falls over sometimes insecure walls these are gardens you enter with care and at your own risk! For this reason the East garden is open to visitors only with a guide.
The gardens are now also an attractive habitat for a wide range of wildlife. Many birds are seen and heard nesting – beside robins, blackbirds, magpies and wood pigeons, these include jays, tits, woodpeckers and even a sparrowhawk, together with woodland butterflies, hedgehogs, grass snakes and slow worms, and of course squirrels and foxes.
Today the gardens are maintained by voluntary subscription by residents and the Bellevue Pleasure Gardens Association, and protected by the Bristol Local Plan of 1997. We hope they will provide pleasure and delight to residents and visitors for many decades to come.