Sustainable Environment
Sustainable Environment
We support alternatives to single use plastics
Consumption & Conservation
Consumption & Conservation
We harvest rainwater from our on-site reservoirs
Reduced Carbon Footprint
Reduced Carbon Footprint
With 80% of bedding plants grown onsite
Composting & Recycling
Composting & Recycling
We recycle over 90% of our on-site waste

Pump Garden & Roses Heritage at Wych Cross

The Pump Garden & Heritage of Wych Cross Garden Centre

Heritage Revived at Coolings Wych Cross – Our Revived Pump Garden officially Opens on 13th June 2024.

We welcome you to come and celebrate the opening and find some special offers in-store at Coolings Wych Cross from 13th-16th June.

A special heritage is revived…

The name ‘Pump Garden’ comes from the pump that now stands proudly on display in the far corner of the half an acre garden. The pump signifies and celebrates the special heritage of this site and its restoration springs life back into a forgotten and lost part of Wych Cross’ past.

History of Wych Cross Garden Centre

The pump is the original water pump that supplied water to the site from the 1930’s.

The original site was the market garden for the Roebuck Hotel, just next door on the A22.  In 1939 a water supply was needed to service the site so a well 70 ft deep was sunk with a further 400 ft of borehole put in. The pump was then used to draw the water up into tanks in the hotel and provide water around the site. At that time the whole project cost a guinea a foot, which is over £38,000 in today’s money.

The market garden was developed into a nursery in 1949 under the ownership of Major Stringer, but the site eventually separated from the hotel in the early 1960’s after the Major passed away.  Phil Pearson became the new owner, having worked on the site since 1949 and he developed it into a retail nursery.

Wych Cross Market Garden c.1940’s   The Roebuck Hotel (image: East Grinstead Society)

Following on from Phil Pearson, new owners once again arrived in 1986 with Jon Hacker, John Paisley and Ray Kennedy taking the reins. Over the years the nursery became famed for growing a large range of roses, something that continues today.

In 2016 the business was once again sold, this time to Wyevale, the national chain of garden centre operators.

Wyevale itself was owned by an investment company and when they decided to sell all their centres, over 150 in total, to pay back their investors, Coolings were more than happy to acquire Wych Cross Garden Centre in 2019, having known Jon Hacker, John Paisley and Ray Kennedy in the days of their ownership.

After buying Wych Cross, we then embarked upon a complete refurbishment of the site and centre to improve the customer facilities, plant areas and general shop layout. And although the Coolings family still hold a stake in the business, the majority of the share are owned by the employees as part of an Employee Ownership Trust, so our staff all benefit directly from their passion for the running of the business.

Since taking over, we have also taken great pride in restoring the rose production nursery and we began growing again on-site in 2020, producing roses to supply all 4 our our garden centres. Today Wych Cross grows 180 varieties of roses and stocks a further 55 varieties of David Austin roses. To say that we know roses is an understatement!

The seed of an idea came about for restoring the pump and re-discovering the garden.

The Pump Garden

The half acre site that the Pump Garden covers originally formed part of the grounds when the site of the nursery and hotel were one.  Over the years as times changed the garden was lost and just became part of the overall site without trace of the once beautiful beds and borders.  The revived Pump Garden will not only highlight the roses we produce but feature mixed planting to mirror the original designs from the past.

Painstakingly restoring the pump and digging in over 100 tons of well-rotted compost (from our compost heaps) to improve the heavy clay soil was an undertaking even before planting could begin. Pathways and an extensive wooden pergola have been installed in readiness for the beautiful rose varieties to feature and flourish over time. And the pump is back on site and sits boldly and proudly in the top corner of the site, clear for all to see.

Where once the pump provided water for the gardens and site, we have dug a pond that fills naturally from rainfall and the natural springs we have flowing on site. It contains approximately 140,000 litres or 30,795 gallons of water and is a restful and reflective feature of the lower part of the garden.

The garden will evolve over time, so we hope you will enjoy what we have created here and watch as the garden continues to grow and develop over future seasons.


The Water Pump

As celebrating the heritage of the site is at the heart of our passion at Wych Cross, we undertook a restoration project of the old water pump, that once provided water for the garden centre and the neighbouring hotel. The project was a huge job as the pump had to be relocated from its initial position, restored and re-positioned in the garden and although it isn’t a functional object, it allows us to reflect on the vast history of the site.


                           Watch this video to take a walk through the Pump Garden (to follow official opening)



Why not visit our wonderful café whilst on site too!

Wonderful views from the café terrace.

The Hybrid Tea Room

The Hybrid Tea Room, a wonderful café that offers a range of drinks, cakes, breakfast and lunch, looks upon the rose area of the centre. The picturesque view from the terrace presents aisles and aisles of colourful roses, pinks blushing throughout each row. Open 7 days a week Monday – Saturday 9.00am -4.30pm and Sunday 10am – 4.30pm Last orders 4pm.