Getting the chance to venture behind closed walls, to take a peek at places you’d never otherwise see, that is the joy of the Hexham Hidden Gardens open day.

Now in its fourth year, it will take place this year on Sunday June 16, between 1.30pm and 6pm.

Organised by Hexham Community Partnership and designed to raise funds for its work with local families and children, the open day gives access this year to 10 private gardens sprinkled across the town.

And some of them spring a real surprise on visitors, as I discovered in Wendy Breech’s garden at Bridge House, on Shaftoe Leazes.

For the 20 odd years I’ve lived in Hexham, I’ve been crossing that bijou road bridge next to Whispers hair salon completely unaware of what lies beneath.

But descend the steep slope Wendy’s garden has been terraced and teased out of and stand by ‘her’ stretch of the Cockshaw Burn and ... wow!

The arch of what is actually a Grade II listed Victorian bridge towers above you.

“I think the bridge dates back to the 1880s,” she said. “And no, most people don’t realise how big the bridge is, or even that there’s one here at all.

“I’ve seen a print done in the time when the road just gradually turned down to the burn and crossed over a little ford. The properties on Shaftoe Leazes wouldn’t have been there then.”

Her partner Peter Rodger and the occasional professional hand help her maintain this large and challenging garden.

In the 11 years she has lived at Bridge House, Wendy has planted a plethora of native trees, alders, rowan and silver birch among them.

There’s fruit – apple, strawberries and raspberries - and ferns and many a bee-friendly flower too.

Patricia and Stuart Graham have been working on their garden at West Close House, on Hextol Terrace, for more than 40 years now.

If the term ‘cottage garden’ used in the Hidden Gardens leaflet/map gives the impression of something blousey and slightly wild, think again.

This pristine patch of Eden is the very epitome of harmony. The lawn looks like it’s been cut with nail scissors, and then polished emerald green.

“I’ve always been passionate about gardening, since I was a little girl,” said Patricia.

“I used to use my granny’s dress-making scissors to cut her lawn.”

Today she uses ‘stand-up’ shears to edge their circular lawn every five days during the summer.

“The secret is to have at least two inches of compacted soil below,” she said. Without that, there’s no hope of a perfect looking lawn.

This is a garden for all seasons. The planting has been planted to perfection. When one species is dying off in a border, the next shrub is coming into its own.

There are nooks and crannies galore in this garden that travels around three sides of the house. Wherever the sun is at any given time of the day, you can sit and bask.

Or you can adjourn to the Victorian summer house that actually revolves. Stuart said: “When the (main) house was built in 1924, this was the edge of town and that way was market gardens and the other were open fields with sheep.

“So they used to turn the summer house around to whatever the best position was according to the time of day.”

Nowadays, the garden’s own internal views are hard to beat.

Tickets and maps for the Hexham Hidden Gardens tour are available in advance from Cogito Books, on St Mary’s Chare, and the ‘starting’ gardens, which are the walled garden at Queen Elizabeth High School and at Wendy Breech’s place on Shaftoe Leazes.