RHS Qualifications and Long Courses

The Learner Experience

The Winterbourne Centre for Horticulture is an RHS Qualifications Approved Centre and we offer accredited courses at Level 2 and Level 3 depending on availability. With lessons located in classroom space adjacent to the main garden at Winterbourne, and practical activities (where relevant) taking place in both our teaching garden and the public Winterbourne Garden, our learners are sure to find inspiration in their surroundings.

Once enrolled to study with us, you will be entitled to obtain student membership to the RHS for a reduced price. Winterbourne students studying for RHS qualifications will also enjoy free access to Winterbourne House and Garden for the duration of your study, excluding ticketed events. You will have access to a small horticultural library and a Virtual Learning Environment where tutor worksheets and resources will be shared.

If you were wondering what it is like to take part in one of our courses, here are the thoughts of two of our recent learners:

Jo – ‘I’ve learnt so much about so many different things, and the balance of classroom and practical activity works really well. It’s also been really enjoyable to spend time learning with such a lovely group of like-minded people in such an impressive and interesting garden. The tea-room is an added lunchtime bonus!’

Paul – ‘If you are considering taking this course for professional reasons or simply for general interest and would say just do it! My Saturdays at Winterbourne have quickly become the highlight of my week. It is so rewarding to be developing my passion with like-minded people. I only wish I had done it sooner. It is never too late to start an enriching journey into horticulture.’

You can read more about some of our previous students’ experiences by visiting the Winterbourne blog posts by Charlotte Allen, Cath Fletcher and Lolly Gautier-Ollerenshaw.


Applications for the upcoming year will open on 8th May and more information can be found on our events page. We will be offering:

We also offer our own certificate – the Winterbourne Certificate in Garden Design.


Our Tutors

‘I found Darren very supportive and helpful’

Darren Rudge BSc (Hons) Hort, Cert Ed

Darren has spent 35 years delivering and managing horticultural and other land-based programmes as well as running a successful garden design consultancy. He was one of the first people in the country to be awarded The City and Guilds medal of excellence for his teaching and training methods. He is a Royal Horticultural Society Professional Associate and the permanent gardening expert for BBC local radio being nominated for the garden media guild awards.

His garden designs have received national magazine exposure, and his enthusiastic approaches to teaching and garden design that are inspirational and motivating are developed to make learning both enjoyable and progressive.

‘Big thank you to Helen Wood for a very interesting, knowledgeable, well delivered course’

Helen Wood BSc Hort, PGCE

Helen has 21 years’ experience of designing and developing gardens alongside a teaching career in horticulture and garden design; she holds a BSc in Amenity Horticulture and Garden Design and a PGCE in Post Compulsory Education.

Teaching has helped Helen to share her passion for plants, people and places in Colleges, Botanic Gardens, Prisons, Schools and Therapeutic settings. She is also a national examiner and professional associate working with Royal Horticultural Society Qualifications examinations in Garden Planning.

Helen currently runs a successful garden design practice in The Midlands, working with private and commercial clients to create the gardens to the highest of standards.

Helen and Darren work together to design and deliver innovative and inspirational teaching programmes, including Royal Horticultural Society Certificates up to and including degree level study. Their Social Enterprise business, Rudge Wood Horticulture CIC, aims to help individuals and communities grow through safe and accessible outdoor spaces and learning environments and opportunities in horticulture.

They have also worked together on several garden design projects including Royal Horticultural Society medal winning show gardens, including winning Gold and best in Show for “Naturally Playful” in 2011 at RHS Gardeners World Live.