Broughton Poggs Blossoms at Cotswolds National Garden Scheme Tour

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Filkins and Broughton Poggs National Garden Scheme Garden Tour last weekend was an absolute delight. The gardens were wreathed in spring blossoms and the weather held with many glimpses of the sun before showers began at five o’clock.

IMG_7509It is a joy to visit the many beautiful private gardens on the NGS tours which cannot be seen other that through the open days organized by them.

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The owners work hard to bring the gardens to their peak to be ‘camera ready’ for the public and the proceeds from ticket sales benefit several important charities. A visit to a beautiful garden with wonderful tea and cake makes for a lovely day out.

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The Cotswolds setting of the two side-by-side villages of Filkins and Broughton Poggs could not be more picturesque with the River ……winding languidly between the gardens adding yet another dimension to their beauty.
IMG_7484Filkins House’s gardens boasted glorious fruit tree blossoms and…….
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a charming dry stone wall garden seat fashioned from Cotswolds stone. Perfect for lazy picnics or afternoon tea. The homemade cakes served at the tour in Filkins Village Hall were delicious, a highlight – Ginger fruit cake with Mascapone cheese spread liberally on top.
IMG_7514This garden in Filkins featured a 200 year old apple tree which spread a mantle of delicate pink and white blossom on the lawn.
IMG_7502The Grade II listed 18th Century Broughton Poggs Mill covered in Wisteria.
IMG_7504For a list of open gardens throughout the summer visit National Garden Scheme’s website
www.ngs.org.uk

Cotswolds Memoir:

Now available in Paperback, Kindle and Audio Book

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Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain
on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage
(Larrabee Libraries)

A portion of the proceeds of every copy of this author’s book COTSWOLDS MEMOIR: Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage is donated to Cotswold conservation institutions. Available on

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Prior Park Garden in the Cotswolds – A National Trust Must-See

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Prior Park is a must-see landscaped garden built high on a hillside with spectacular views of Bath as just one of its many attractions.
IMG_4641This National Trust Grade 1 listed garden was created by local entrepreneur Ralph Allen and begun in 1734.
IMG_4621Allen, who made his fortune by reorganizing the post office, took advice from the poet Alexander Pope and the garden designer Capability Brown before creating this masterpiece.
IMG_4618There are few flowers and no formal beds in this garden – it is all about breathtaking views, restful green lawns, reflecting water from the lakes and sculptural bridges – creating a mellow mood that is immensely pleasing.
IMG_4657Meandering across the elegant Palladian Bridge, one of only four left in the world, is a joy and there is much more to discover including: a Serpentine Lake, a Cascade, a summerhouse, and a horseshoe walk.
IMG_4655Winding and sometimes steep paths lead to hidden retreats, tranquil lakes, a ruined Gothic Temple, a Grotto and finally, stunning vistas over Bath. Prior Park was the matrix for style that became known as the “English garden”.
IMG_4623-1The Palladian mansion, which tops one of the garden’s sweeping green slopes and overlooks Bath, now houses Prior Park College and was designed by John Wood, the Elder in 1742. He was commissioned by Ralph Allen to build a house “To see all Bath, and for all Bath to see”.

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This house, with its classic symmetry, should be on the list of all the overseas visitors who, caught up in Downton Abbey fervor, are now interested in seeing other examples of the great houses of Britain.

Afternoon Tea can be taken at a tiny, clapboard tea house, with outdoor tables, tucked away in the foliage.
IMG_4647A five-minute walk from the garden leads on to a six mile circular walk around Bath, with amazing views, that passes through woodlands, meadows, an Iron Age hill-fort, Roman settlements, and an 18th-century folly.

Prior Park Garden is south of Bath, Somerset, by Ralph Allen Drive, and 3/4 mile (1.2 km) from the Kennet and Avon canal path. BA2 5AH

Click here for National Trust Link

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Romantic Cotswold Garden with a View – One of National Gardens Scheme’s Best

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WOOLSTONE MILL HOUSE GARDEN

Rambling, romantic Woolstone Mill House Garden, near Faringdon, is a real treat. Close to the hidden village of Woolstone with its pretty pub, The White Horse, it has many delights.
IMG_6523 This garden has just the perfect amount of blowsy charm – trim in the right places and charmingly shaggy in others.
IMG_6521 A stream trickles through it meandering under several rustic bridges and leading the visitor on to one interesting garden feature after another.
IMG_6518 A spectacular circle created by yew hedges whose focal point, two topiary sheep with carved stone heads, is enhanced by a backdrop of real sheep grazing in the meadows beyond.
IMG_6504 The wide swath of lawn in this circle is bordered by mixed herbaceous and shrub plantings and provides a splendid photo opportunity.
IMG_6514 There are medlars and old-fashioned roses, kitchen and bog gardens and numerous topiary in this two acre property.
IMG_6529 Snuggled in among the foliage is every child’s dream of a tree house. It is well worth the climb up as there are terrific views of White Horse Hill with the Uffington White Horse clearly visible.
IMG_6511 Sinfully rich home-made meringues with whipped cream and fresh raspberries were served, along with steaming cups of tea, in a picture perfect summerhouse at the end of the garden.
IMG_6512 A truly gorgeous garden with many quirky surprises.
IMG_6513Photographs by Randall Montgomery ©2014 Available for purchase at PublicityPromo@aol.com


Woolstone Mill House, Woolstone, nr. Faringdon, Oxon, SN7 7QL

Click here for NGS 2015 details

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New! Cotswolds Memoir is now available as an AudioBook in addition to Paperback and Kindle
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Cotswolds Gorgeous Garden-Stowell Park- Opened For Colbalt Fundraiser

 

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Stowell Park Garden in SeptemberIMG_6486

For a wonderful afternoon visit magnificent Stowell Park, near Northleach, surely the best private garden in the country. Stowell House crowns a hill commanding matchless views across the unspoiled Gloucestershire countryside. Velvet lawns carpet one elegant terrace after another as they unfold down the hill below the house eventually merging seamlessly into the rolling hills of the Coln Valley.

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This open garden event was the Cobalt charity’s grand finale of their open garden programme for 2014 and they wisely appeared to have saved the best for last.

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This traditional garden covers eight acres with many charming features including: three peach houses two vineries, three pot-plant greenhouses and a half acre of cut flowers in addition to an acre of fruit and vegetable gardens laid out in two walled gardens. A perfect parade of pleached limes frame the approach to 14th Century Stowell House and give way to a long rose pergola and wide, plant filled borders containing a fine collection of old-fashioned roses.

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A woodland walk – a fountain garden with an almost two metre sturgeon swimming happily in the water feature also grace this beautiful garden.

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Tea and delicious home-made cakes were served in the ballroom and taken on one of the sunny terraces. The lovely weather showed off the garden at its best.

This open garden event provided a rare opportunity for a visit in September. Lady Vestey and her head gardener, Neil Hewertson have created a wonderful and surprisingly diverse show of colour for this time of the year.
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The tranquility created by Stowell Park Garden’s position and beautiful design make this a must-see garden.

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COBALT CHARITY
Support the Cobalt Charity (Diagnostic Imaging for Life) providing faster, safer and clearer medical scans by giving generously. This charity made the Stowell Park open garden event possible.
www.cobalt50.co.uk
fundraising@cobalthealth.co.uk

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Photographs by Randall Montgomery ©2014 Available for purchase at PublicityPromo@aol.com

Stowell Park Yanworth, Northleach, Cheltenham GL54 3LE

The Lord & Lady Vestey, http://www.stowellpark.co.uk 8m NE of Cirencester. Off Fosseyway A429 2m SW of Northleach.
Stowell Park is open under the National Garden Scheme usually for two afternoons in June.

Click here for NGS 2015 details
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New! Cotswolds Memoir is now available as an AudioBook in addition to Paperback and Kindle
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Cotswolds Views 5 of the Best!

Gotta love those Cotswold Views!

Here (below) are my favourite five – all are included in the Travel Guide of my book
COTSWOLDS MEMOIR:
Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage.

Now available on Amazon in Paperback, Kindle and NEW! Audio Book. www.DizWhite.com

Best COTSWOLD VIEW from a MANOR HOUSE

SNOWSHILL MANOR, 
Broadway, Gloucestershire, WR12 7JU nationaltrust.org.uk

Gorgeous views across the Snowshill Lavender fields and surrounding rolling hills.
This National Trust property houses Charles Wade’s eclectic collection of craftsmanship from all over the world. Charming organic garden.

 

Best COTSWOLD VIEW from a COUNTRY INN

EDGEMOOR INN, Near Painswick, Gloucestershire, GL6 6ND edgemoor-inn.com

Breath-taking views from the terrace as inn overlooks entire Painswick valley and is situated on the Cotswold Way. Great food and beer. Close to Haresfield Beacon.

Best COTSWOLD VIEW from a CASTLE

WARWICK CASTLEWarwick, Warwickshire, CV34 4QU warwick-castle.com

Worth the climb up to the roof for unmatched views of  the River Avon, the Castle grounds, the Mill Garden and surrounding countryside.
1,000 years of history. Well constructed tableaux. Great Hall. State Rooms. Jousting. Trebuchet. Great day out with the kids. PeacockGarden. Gives Disney a run for its money.

 

Best COTSWOLD VIEW from a HISTORIC SITE

BROADWAY TOWER, Middle Hill, Broadway, Worcestershire, WR12 7LB broadwaytower.co.uk

View from Broadwat Tower

Completed in 1798 this folly was built for Lady Coventry on a beacon hill. Spectacular views of more than a dozen counties. Over 17 metres high. Open to the public.

 

Best COTSWOLD VIEW from a NATIONAL TRUST SITE

HARESFIELD BEACON, 3 miles north west of Stroud (see website for directions) gloucestershire.gov.uk

Haresfield Beacon 2

National Trust site on the Cotswold escarpment with amazing 360 degree views, some reaching as far as Wales. Site of a Roman-British hill fort.

 

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New! Cotswolds Memoir is now available as an AudioBook in addition to Paperback and Kindle

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A portion of the proceeds of every copy of  COTSWOLDS MEMOIR: is donated to Cotswold conservation institutions.

Cotswolds Memoir Author writes History of Downton Abbey location

Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle)
Architectural History
By
Diz White

Author of

Cotswolds Memoir:

Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain
on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage
(Larrabee Libraries)

Available on Amazon

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Highclere Castle, Location for Downton Abbey- Daily Mail

Highclere Castle, Location for Downton Abbey

Highclere Castle – the location of the successful T.V. Series Downton Abbey has brought the Victorian and medieval mansions and stately homes of England back into worldwide focus.
The huge success of the T.V. series Downton Abbey which uses Highclere Castle as its location has sparked great interest in British architecture and put a spotlight onto these ancient mansions and stately homes. This interest, may, in fact, be instrumental in stopping the decline of these buildings whose numbers have been traveling on a slow downward trajectory since the First World War. The curiosity aroused by this incredibly popular series has promoted a thirst for knowledge about British architecture and history from around the world.

Highclere2Highclere Castle Today

Highclere Castle as it exists today was rebuilt between 1839 – 1842 for the third Earl of Carnarvon by Sir Charles Barry, the architect of the Houses of Parliament. The architectural style of this latest version of Highclere Castle is classed as Jacobethan and its fascia material is of stone from the town of Bath.
John Betjeman gave the name ‘Jacobethan’ to the style of architecture incorporating elements of both Elizabethan and Gothic characteristics. This English Renaissance style that was popular from 1550 to 1625 was revived in the 1820s and evolved into the Jacobethan style.

MentmoreMentmore in Buckinghamshire an example of Jacobethan architecture

This fashion subsequently became the hallmark of Victorian architecture and included features such as Tudor-style terra cotta bricks, arches and extended chimneys, elaborate carved brickwork, balustrades, pillars and parapets. Sandringham House in Norfolk, home of her Majesty the Queen represents a good example of this Jacobethan style.

Highclere Castle origins, like so many castles, mansions and stately homes in Britain, go back to medieval times and beyond. An Anglo-Saxon charter indicates that this site has been populated for almost 1400 years.

Architectural Plans for Highclere CastleArchitectural Plans for Highclere Castle

It was the custom of British architects, through the centuries, to build upon the foundations of earlier buildings and on occasion to incorporate parts of these buildings into the new structure. The Victorian architects followed this trend by erecting the current Highclere Castle on the exact site of an earlier mansion. This earlier building was constructed on the foundations of the medieval palace of the Bishops of Winchester who had retained possession of this large estate since the 8th Century. An even earlier building was recorded as existing on this site in the Domesday Book.
The Carnarvon family have owned and lived in Highclere since 1679.

earl of pembroke8th Earl of Pembroke

In 1692 Robert Sawyer left what was then a mansion named Highclere to his daughter Margaret, wife of the 8th Earl of Pembroke. Their son Robert Sawyer Herbert inherited Highclere and became the owner of this mansion. He created the garden rooms and assembled a collection of paintings. Robert Sawyer’s heir Henry Herbert was created 1st Earl of Carnarvon by King George III.

Earl of Carnarvon1st Earl of Carnarvon

This is the description (in part) of Highclere Castle given by the famous architectural historian Nicholas Pevsner and his co-writer David Lloyd.

The house is ashlar-faced, of three storeys with an additional storey in the accentuated parts. The windows are of the mullion-and-transom-cross type, with transoms higher up than in genuine Elizabethan houses. At the top is a strapwork balustrade. The front is much flatter than an Elizabethan front would be. There is in fact very little decoration – just ornamented pilasters in stressed places. ‘Ung Je Serviray’ carved above all the ground floor windows.

5th Earl of Carnarvon5th Earl of Carnarvon

During the Victorian era Highclere Castle became a nexus of social and political activity. A stream of socialites, politicians, technical innovators, aviators, soldiers, writers and Egyptologists populated the parties at the house. The 5th Earl of Carnarvon discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen with Howard Carter adding another exotic aspect to the rich history of the Carnarvon family and their Castle. An Egyptian exhibition is a feature of Highclere Castle today.

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During the First World War Highclere Castle was turned into a hospital by Amina the 5th Countess of Carnarvon and treated soldiers wounded in Flanders in September 1914. The Castle became a private home again in 1922. The Castle was used once more in the Second World War as a home for evacuated children from London.
Today the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon live for part of the year in the Castle and the remainder of the time in a nearby home.

Highclere Castle LibraryHighclere Castle Library

Only the ground floor rooms are in use at the present time and these include the Foyer, Saloon, Library (which contains almost 6000 books, some of which date back to the 16th Century), Music Room, Smoking Room, Drawing Room and Dining Room (in which hangs Van Dyck’s painting of Charles I)

charles-iCharles I by Van Dyck

There are 11 bedrooms on the first floor of Highclere Castle with approximately 60 bedrooms on the upper floors.

It is hoped that the success of Downton Abbey will help bring the public’s attention to the often sorry plight of Britain’s stately homes. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings is fighting to save historic and listed buildings from decay, demolition and destruction. Web site www.spab.org.uk

A portion of the proceeds of every copy of this author’s book COTSWOLDS MEMOIR: Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage is donated to Cotswold conservation institutions.

Available on
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