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Village Nurseries, West Chiltington

Village Nurseries in West Chiltington

Published on 1st July 2020


Tucked away along a rural lane in West Chiltington, Village Nurseries is truly a family-run business. It has been run for 26 years by Peter Manfield, ably assisted by sister Carol and mum Sheila. Carol’s husband Nigel Barber works there too, as do daughters Sally Primmett and Lindsey Barber. 

Because of the complex layout of West Chiltington (like a warren of narrow lanes), even local residents may never have stumbled across the nursery. Yet the family’s continued presence and combined horticultural knowledge means that it has many loyal customers, both in the village and beyond. 

Sally says, “We run a popular hanging basket service that is unique, certainly locally anyway. Individuals and businesses bring their hanging basket to us, or pick a new one, and we plant fresh flowers whenever they need them. We always ask about their personal preferences with regard to colour and style, and whether it’ll be hung in a sunny or shady spot.” 

“My grandmother still loves to make up the baskets at the age of 84, as she’s done it for certain customers since we first opened and knows what they like. We know who prefers pastoral colours with pale pinks, mauves and whites, or who likes free-flowing baskets with brightly coloured  geraniums. Often, we can find people’s basket without even looking at the label! People appreciate that personal service. We keep costs low too, as we grow our own plants, rather than buying them all from nurseries across the country or beyond.” 


Peter founded the business over 25 years ago, having studied horticulture at college before working at garden centres in the south. He recalls, “We were looking around for somewhere to start our own business and found this site. It was just a glasshouse with overgrown flowers, but it had potential, being located in a pleasant, affluent area that serves a significant population. Gradually, we’ve been able to expand across the whole site.”

“As a nursery rather than a garden centre, we grow and sell our own plants, buying in very little apart from some of the more exotic varieties. We are restricted in terms of space, but manage to grow a wide range of seasonal plants.”

“If you want garden furniture, there are other places that can offer that. Our focus is solely plants. We put them in pots that are the right size and use the best biological controls when growing them. We keep things under control and lean on the knowledge we’ve built up over many years to offer the best plants and advice to the people who visit us.”


 Village Nurseries sells seasonal plants which provide colour in the spring and summer, as well as hardy varieties that will survive autumn and winter. There’s also a selection of perennials and exotic plants. Geraniums, primroses, peonies, and begonias are as popular as ever, but gardeners are increasingly exploring other plants to create wilder habitats that encourage wildlife. 

Peter says, “Colour variety has improved over the years, which is down to better propagation and growing conditions. So, there’s never been more choice for gardeners. Some prefer a formal look, but there’s strong demand for plants like lavender as they attract bees, which have been in decline. Wildlife is increasingly on people’s mind when it comes to gardens. We also have people coming to us for peat-fee compost. Garden centres have committed to selling only peat-free in the future, but we’ve been doing it since 2014.” 

Nurseries and garden centres have not been as badly-hit by Covid as some other retail businesses. During lockdown, many people spent more time in the garden and took the chance to enhance their surroundings. 

“We’ve benefitted from that,” says Sally. “People were stuck at home and had the time to fully appreciate whatever outdoor space they have. Many took the chance to improve it with new trees and plants. Hopefully, this has led to more people caring for their gardens in a way they perhaps weren’t before.” 

Further information: Village Nurseries, Sinnocks, West Chiltington, RH20 2JX

Open 7 days a week, 9am -5pm. Tel: 01798 813040 or visit www.villagenurseries.co.uk