The Gardens of Hanbury Hall

To break my journey down to the southwest I decided to call at Hanbury Hall in Worcestershire for a few hours. I began my visit with lunch in the Servants’ Hall and spent the rest of my time in the splendid gardens.


The Sunken Parterre is the “Jewel” of Royal Gardener, George London‘s Great Garden at Hanbury established in 1705.

The English garden was influenced heavily by Dutch, William of Orange’s Gardens at Palais Het Loo as well as those of Louis XIV at Versailles. In their interpretation by George London, garden designs became softer and more incorporative of the surrounding English Landscape.


London created gardens where his patrons could escape the tumultuous early eighteenth-century world within his formal designs, using mathematical precision and newly discovered and imported plants; he created a safe haven for drama, fun and recreation.”


Towards the end of the eighteenth century, the gardens were swept away and replaced with wide open spaces and uninterrupted views. They remained as such for the next 200 years. But 21 years ago the National Trust set about recreating the gardens as they were under London’s direction. Using London’s original 1705 plans and other historic plans and drawings the Gardens and Park Manager worked with a team of experts to determine the layout of the topiary and hedge framework that made up the stunning structure of the Great Garden. Historic planting guides were also used to select appropriate plants to fill the parterre and surrounding boarders with colour and scent throughout the seasons. The hard work has paid of and they are now truly spectacular and positively luminous in this afternoon’s autumn light.


The Sunken Parterre



The Fruit Garden with Dairy behind


The Wilderness


The Bowling Green


The Orangery and Mushroom House


The Grove


The Formal Vegetable Garden


Formal Vegetable Garden and House


Leaving Hanbury Gardens – but it never did rain


A visit inside Hanbury Hall itself will have to wait for my next visit. I hope it will be as breathtaking as walking from ‘room to room’ in the gardens.

Autumn Visit To The Galleries of Manchester

Back in June I received notification of this locally organised trip and, October being a pretty ‘clear’ month, I decided to book the day out. In the end it came hot on the heels of the Edinburgh 48 hour ‘day out’.

“Autumn Visit to the Galleries of Manchester.
Wednesday 12th October 2016

Manchester, or “Cottonopolis” was one of the great cities of Victorian England. That wealth is reflected to-day in the magnificent art collections housed in the city galleries.

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Edinburgh Houses


It was meant to be a quiet, stay-at-home, reading-in-the-boudoir week (most of October, in fact) but irresistible opportunities for travel turned up and I resisted none of them!

When friends asked if I would a share a day with them in Edinburgh I leapt at the chance. It’s possible to do the trip in a day from Leeds. I’ve done it before. I spent one Saturday in August six years ago at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which is just confined to the limits of Charlotte Square.


Charlotte Square in Autumn

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The Octavia Hill Trail


Nourishing soup to set me up for the afternoon’s walk

Lovely Winkworth Arboretum is very near Godalming and I’ve visited lots of times this year. It’s one of Oliver (pug)’s favourite places and we both enjoy our walks there. There’s something for both of us. My attention was drawn to two other nearby sites – a walk and a house to visit. In fact it is possible to walk from Winkworth Arboretum to Oakhurst Cottage and include part of the Octavia Hill Trail en route. On my last Saturday in Surrey I decided to visit both but after a fortifying lunch at Winkworth I drove to Hydon’s Heath for the trail and then on to Oakhurst Cottage for a guided tour.

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Rambling The Hidden Hindhead Trail


Where once the busy, congested A3 once ran is now a haven for nature and for peace and tranquility and a walker’s and naturalist’s paradise. These days the A3 is a major dual carriageway route between London and Portsmouth and the beautiful landscapes of the Devils’ Punchbowl and Hindhead Common have been preserved and enhanced since the A3 is now diverted into a tunnel below this section of the Surrey countryside.

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