Friday, 24 August 2012

A visit to Wrest Park

One of my favourite places to visit locally is Wrest Park, now owned and administered by English Heritage. I have written about it before, but it is a couple of years since I last visited and English Heritage have done a lot of work.  My fondest memories of the park are from the early 80's when it housed the local agricultural college.  The gardens would be open at the weekend and you paid 50p to go through a beautiful gateway into the park which was only minimally maintained.  It was a magic place only really known by locals.  We would take a picnic and spend all day there. In the overgrown woodland part of the park there were little pavilions and summer houses, a dogs cemetery, a Roman 'temple',  two small lakes, hidden statues, a chinese bridge and a 'Roman' bath house.  The park also has extensive croquet lawns. My U3A group went for a tree walk there on Thursday, so it was a good opportunity to visit for free.
The park has undergone many changes and has the hand of Capabilty Brown as well as other landscape designers. But Thomas de Grey built the present house in c1834 in the French style and had a formal garden laid out.

This is a view of the house from the other side of the crochet lawns. Ha ha! I think that should be croquet lawn!  Please click on the photos for a close-up - that ride-on lawn mower is worth a closer look.

The parterres have been restored and beautifully planted.  This is a view from the terrace down to the pavilion at the far end of the main lake.

The pavilion

Another view from the terrace.

This is the restored Italian garden.
Although the formal gardens are beautiful it is the magnificent of the trees in the park which seems to make it serene and tranquil retreat even when it was busy with many visitors as it was on Thursday.
New cones on an ancient Cedar

I kept getting left behind as I wanted to take photographs, must go again so I can linger longer.

The really long needles of the Pinus ponderosa - Western Yellow Pine - I did take in some of the talk.

Another view of the pavilion from the end of the lake.

The sun shining through the leaves of the Indian Bean Tree, which I always assumed came from India, but in fact is a native of North America like the mis-named red Indians.

Here is the Chinese bridge which spans the canal which forms a u shape perimeter to the park.

A red wood

This is a mulberry tree, it had lots of fruit on it.

Don't you just love trees? I could definitely hug them, if I could get my arms round them!

I have been to Wrest Park more times than I can remember but there were still treasures to be found.
I had never seen the Dolls' House before,  I wonder what lucky children played in here.

And below is a stained glass window from the dairy which houses a selection of statues from the garden.

Here are a couple of details from a lead Columbine who I was rather taken with.  It was very busy and I couldn't get any full length shots.

To finish my tour I leave with a few bumble bees.

You can see some of my other photographs taken at Wrest Park on my Fickr site here.

Now that's my advert for English Heritage over with, have a great Bank Holiday Weekend.


marigold jam said...

Beautiful Jill. I could almost feel the tranquility even though there were lots of visitors strolling round. Have a good weekend - hope your weather is better than ours though as it's really miserable here today and the same forecast for all weekend naturally!

Joanna said...

Beautiful gardens, really stunning. I love your description of it from the 1980's too, it sounds quite magical.

Love the photo of the lawn mowing man - what a wonderful Heath Robinson-like machine!


menopausalmusing said...

I have only tasted Mulberries straight from a tree once (there is one in the University Gardens Bristol) and it was unforgettable. That looks a great place to visit Jill, I would love a peep inside the Doll's House.

Printed Material said...

Photos with your siganture attention to detail here Jill. That one of the catalpa is glorious but my favourites are the two partial shots of the lead Columbine, almost better than seeing her in her entirety. Can't you just imagine these as drawings? The curve of the waist and that tiny shoe..... lovely. Thanks for the trip!

Anna said...

Thankyou for reminding me about Wrest Park, I went years ago, maybe to an antique Fair or similiar; I can't remember. Your photos capture the feeling of space, privilege and the past - love the trees, I think we're very lucky to have these wonderful houses and parks.

Emma said...

Beautiful trees, hug them anyway! Wonderful pics from the FoQ, great seeing Stephanie Redfern again, oh the simplicity mixed with detail - you could stare at one hanging for hours.