Cotswolds Ducks and National Trust Properties in the Cotswolds

   These adorable ducklings and their Mama Duck put on quite a show in the lily-bedecked canals of Westbury Court Gardens,  a National Trust property open to the public. I am having a wonderful time this glorious summer touring the Cotswolds, with my husband, via all the National Trust Properties in the Cotswolds.
I was handed a map of all their properties in this lovely region when I visited Chedworth Roman Villa and found it to be joy to visit them one by one – great way to see this area – taking me to parts of the Cotswolds I had never explored.
Westbury Court Garden near Gloucester and the Severn River on the edges of the Cotswolds was a revelation. It is the only 17th Century restored Dutch water garden in Great Britain.  It was originally laid out between 1696 and 1715 and remained untouched for over 300 years.
Hooray, for the National Trust rescuing it in 1967. An engraving from 1707 helped with the first complete garden restoration undertaken by this terrific organization.
Westbury Court Garden is a delight – it has a wealth of unusual plants, the calming trickle of water from the lily-covered canals, the oldest evergreen oak in England, ready for picking English apples,  plums, peaches and cherries espaliered and, in season, ripening against the old red-brick walls. There are Kingfishers, Heron, Sand Martins and of course those darling little ducklings.
We have almost worked our way through all the Cotswolds National Trust Properties making our membership fee a wonderful bargain and worth every penny.
We fairly quickly equaled the cost of our tickets in entrance fees and now it feels like all future visits and return visits are free.

So far we have visited Dyrham Park, Snowshill Manor and Garden, Newark Park, Lodge Park and Sherborne Estate, Upton House and Gardens, Woodchester Park, Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons, Chedworth Roman Villa, Hidcote and Chasleton House.

More on all these with photos in upcoming blog posts:
Still to visit: Charlecote Park, Coughton Court, Croome Greyfriars’ House and Garden, Hanbury Hall and Gardens, Prior Park Landscape Garden, Stowe and Waddesdon Manor.

Downloadable Nation Trust app:
Tel: 0844 800 1895

Cotswolds Memoir_DizWhite

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

Click below to order


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

Gorgeous Cotswolds Private Manor House Gardens – How to see them

Rockcliffe Dovecote

I am always trying to peek over the walls of lovely gardens in the Cotswolds, especially those belonging to the large estates. I have only recently realized that I can actually see these fabulous gardens of the Manor House Estates of the Cotswolds by tracking down their open days on the National Garden Scheme.

Click on photos to enlarge

Campden House

Now I am over the moon – it’s raining gorgeous gardens. In the last couple of weeks I have toured Rockcliffe House Garden near Lower Swell, Eyford Garden near Upper Slaughter and Campden House Garden near Chipping Campden.

Rockcliffe Montage

Rockcliffe House and Gardens

The gardens offered glorious treasures such as: a parade of pleached lime trees lining a lovely lily pond, a whimsical Dove topiary climbing a hill to meet the real thing at its summit – a dovecot filled with cooing birds, ancient statuary half hidden in shrubbery, climbing courgettes begun in an impeccably kept greenhouse, a tennis court-sized croquet lawn, a jasmine filled orangery, alliums as big as footballs, and stunningly perfect herbaceous borders  among many other delights.

Eyford Montage 2

Eyford House and Gardens

This is a wonderful way for visitors to explore the Cotswolds and often meet the owners of these estates as my husband and I did at Eyford House. The very charming Charlotte Heber-Percy was selling tickets at the entrance to her estate and we struck up a conversation with her. As we chatted she decided to leave her ticket-selling duties to a helper and proceeded to walk us around her gorgeous garden taking us on a personally conducted tour. We couldn’t believe our luck as we strolled past the fox and hounds topiary listening in delight as she pointed out one spectacular garden feature after another. She also told us the history of her family and the manor house and garden. By the end of the tour it felt like we were old friends.

Topiary HoundAll photographs are by Randall Montgomery and are available for purchase at

Many of these gardens on these private estates are open only one day a year so it is a good idea to do some advanced planning. We got hold of a National Garden Scheme book that tells of every open garden for the year. It is as thick as a novel but is invaluable to have in the car. But also the info on the gardens is all online too. A trek around a couple of gorgeous estate gardens followed by tea and a bun (sometimes in a room in one of these ancient manor houses) is my idea of a perfect Cotswold day.

National Garden Scheme Website

Cotswolds Memoir_DizWhite

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

Click below to order


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