The History of Bell Plantation

Take a look back at our history and how we became The Bell Plantation Garden Centre.

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About Bell Plantation

Here at Bell Plantation, we have one main passion, and that is the great outdoors. We want you to enjoy the outdoors as much as we do and we think that starts in your garden. That’s why we have a simple purpose; to help, support and supply you with everything you need to make your garden look amazing, in a relaxed and enjoyable shopping environment.

To give you an idea of what drives this passion it might be good for you to know a bit about where we started and how we got here. We are a family business, run by the family which was started by Ashley and Sheena Warren when they first moved to the site in 1987.

History of Bell Plantation

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1989-1998 - Bell Plantation’s Early Years

1989 - The Beginning

At that time, the A43 dual carriageway didn’t exist and the couple moved into what is now the Nursery school at the bottom of the car park. They quickly extended the house and Ashley started operating his landscape gardening business from the site.

1990 - More Land

In 1990, they purchased another 4 acres of land and quickly achieved planning permission to erect polytunnels to grow produce for the landscape business and sow the first seed of the future garden centre.

1992

In 1992 the couple purchased 2 more acres with agricultural barns and converted one of the barns into offices, using 2 of them for the landscape business and letting a further 6 to other businesses.

1995

In 1995, they purchased a further 28 acres of agricultural land which makes up the extent of the current site. Ashley has always loved cattle and kept a small herd of longhorn cattle on this land as well as some others. He also kept chickens near the garden centre car park which created a lot of interest with our customers at the time who wanted to keep chickens themselves.

1996 - The Road Begins

In 1996 the second barn was converted into a garden centre shop which was quickly superseded in 1998…

1998 - The Build

by 8,000 sq feet of glass that replaced the polytunnels that originally existed.

2003 - Onwards

2003

The continuing growth of the garden centre business meant that in 2003 Ashley built the courtyard as it stands today, operated the garden centre from the main building and let the rest of the space to tenants.

2007

In 2007, the site achieved planning permission for a further 40,000 sq feet of retail space with only 4,000 ft currently achieved. We took over the Café business in 2009, which was originally let to another company.

2014

The café business was a real challenge to start with but has now grown to be a valuable addition to our business and the site. In September 2014, we started operating the Farm Shop at the front of the courtyard as a way of pulling together Ashley’s passion for horticulture and agriculture with the development of the Café business.

2016–2018 - More Retail Space

2016

In 2016 we expanded our retail footprint with a new 4,000sq ft Shop and a 7,000 sq ft Glass House to bring all our businesses under one roof. This gave us some much-needed extra retail space and helped us to become an all-weather destination, bringing a cohesive approach to our retail offering.

2018

In October 2018 we carried out a further expansion of our retail areas! We completed a further 10,000 sq ft of covered, heated retail space.

This incorporated our existing outdoor pot area and joined up with our plant canopy. The new retail space houses more giftware, gardening ancillary products and houseplants. We have also moved our Poultry products and accessories into the space which means that you, our customers, can now shop a much wider range of products while keeping warm and dry!

2019-2021 - More Exciting Developments

2019

In October 2019 we started the next phase of our development with an expansion of our Cafe and kitchen area as well a new building for a Play Area. We also built a new unit especially for Hot Tubs at Home bases here at Bell Plantation.

2021 - Belle’s Playbarn Opens

After the pandemic in 2020 we were delighted to open our very own Farm inspired play area as well as our expanded Cafe and Kitchen.

2021 - A new Car Park

In November 2021 our secondary car park was resurfaced giving you easier access to our site.

2021 - New Retail Spaces

At the end of 2021 we begin the redevelopment of buildings to create additional retail space to be ready for Spring 2022.

 

2022 - New Retail Space

Summer 2022 sees the launch of new retail space to welcome more businesses on site

2022 - New Plant Canopy

1st August 2022 will see the start of another exciting expansion for our Plant canopy. We will be building a new larger glass canopy allowing you to shop all year round!

 

Time Lapse of the 2016 Building Work

More from Bell Plantation…

Meet The Team

Meet our wonderful team that make everything at the Bell Plantation possible!

Environmental Statement

Take a look at some of the ways in which we are trying to be more environmentally friendly.

Careers

We’re hiring! Explore our current career opportunities and apply for a career at Bell Plantation now.

Where To Find Us

Watling Street,
Towcester,
Northants,
NN12 6GX

We are situated on the large roundabout where the A5 from Towcester and A43 meet. Take the A5 exit towards Hinkley and our entrance is just off the roundabout. Look our for our purple cockerel at the roundabout!

We’re just a 15 mins drive from Brackley

We’re also a 20 min drive from Daventry and Northampton

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