Archive for Gardens


Sunday was a glorious sunny day and we visited Hestercombe House and Gardens, north of Taunton with Neil’s sister Carole and our friend Liz. The Hestercombe Gardens Trust was set up in 1997 to restore these world famous garden to their full glory.  The oldest part of the house dates back to 1280. It was owned by the family of Sir John de Warre for 500 years and went through quite a transformation in that time.  After Elizabeth Warre died the estate was bought by the 1st Viscount Portman and was later lived in by the Hon Teddy Portman, his grandson.  Teddy Portman died in 1911 but his wife continued to live in the house until her death in 1951 aged 96.


In 1953 the newly formed Somerset Fire Brigade rented the house as its new headquarters and continued there until 2006.  In November 2013 the Hestercombe Gardens Trust acquired the freehold of the house and formal gardens and opened the house to the public in May 2014 for the first time in over 800 years.  The inside of the house has a contemporary art gallery and a 2nd hand bookshop.


Outside the gardens are lovely with a number of lakes and a hydro electric plant. Over one of the lakes is a steep bridge which Neil posed on.


With still water and beautiful sunshine the reflections in the lake were splendid.


The Landscape Garden was built in the 18th century and throughout the garden are various seats, each with a view like a landscape painting.



We stopped a fellow walker and asked them to take a picture of all 4 of us.


This is the house from the garden.



And I just loved this single water lily.


The Portman family commissioned Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll to create the Edwardian Formal Garden in 1903 which took 5 years to complete.



All in all it was a great visit, with a stop for tea and cake.  Easily reached from Lodge House B&B. If you fancy a visit, come and stay with us




Leave a Comment

Visit to Midelney Manor, Somerset

Today we visited Midelney Manor with the Combe St Nicholas History Group.  This is privately owned house, which is Grade 1 listed and was built in the late 16th Century in two distinct halves by brothers Richard & Thomas Trevillian.


The manor house is sited on a former island site and was the property of Mulcheney Abbey before being passed to the Trevillian family after the dissolution of the monasteries.  We were shown around by Alice who lives there with her family and is a direct descendent of the Trevillian family.

Inside the lounge was a lovely fireplace and around the walls hung pictures of the ancestors.


The gardens were lovely, mostly being walled with flower beds.


We went through a doorway in the walls,


to where the flower beds were full of blue cornflowers.


The land extended to the back where there were some handsome massive trees and a paddock.


At the end of the tour we were invited in for a cream tea which was much needed and well appreciated.  Midelney Manor is just half an hour’s drive from us at


Leave a Comment

Abundant Almonds

Our Almond tree groaned with the weight of the nuts it had produced and then one heavy limb broke off.  We propped it up the best we could and hoped the nuts would still ripen.


The branch that had snapped seem to have more nuts than any other.


The outer casing was starting to crack open on a lot of the nuts, revealing the shell of the actual nut inside.


This afternoon I have picked two big pots full and will dry them out and then crack off the outer casing.  We will have our own nuts for Xmas!!



Comments (2)

Lovely Foxgloves

In our back border have sprung up some lovely purple Foxgloves.


And some more:


And in close up:


They look fabulous towering over the fence.  I shall sprinkle the seeds later on and hopefully we will get some more next year.  I just love them!!

see them for  yourself, visit


Comments (1)

Visit to historic house at Sand, East Devon.

On Monday we went on a trip to an historic house at Sand, East Devon organised by the Combe History Society of which Neil is a member.  It is most unusual for us to take time out, let along on a Monday!!

From its website it gives the following information. “An historic house lived in by the family who have owned it and shared their history with it for over 500 years; a tranquil garden in an idyllic setting – In its peaceful East Devon valley, this historic stone house is set in about 6 acres of varied gardens. Gardens in which to relax, to wander round corners, to gaze at the views, to sit and watch the birds. A sun baked terrace, shady woodland, lawns and borders – something for everyone.
The family house is principally Elizabethan. the resident members of the family Stephen and Stella Huyshe-Shires, provide guided tours showing a wealth of period interior features as well as an adjacent mediaeval hall house. They tell of the history, of the delights and difficulties and the unexpected aspects of living in and maintaining an historic house.”


We had a guided tour of the house and were told of the history which went back to Edward de Sand in the 1200’s.

This fireplace is in the main chamber and dates from 1500 when the design was very fashionable. It is rumoured that Catherine of Aragon stayed there on her way from Plymouth to London to marry the brother of Henry VIII, who died after 6 months, and she later married Henry VIII. There is a stained glass panel of her coat of arms in the grand hall.


We also wandered around the gardens which were really lovely.


They had these really big poppies in both red


and pink.


One of our group was in a wheel chair and the terrain around the gardens wasn’t exactly suitable, so Neil got involved in helping to push.


All in all it was a really interesting afternoon out.  If you want to visit Sand yourself, why not stay at our B&B which is less than half an hour’s drive away?





Comments (3)

A lovely walk at Cricket St Thomas Lakes and Gardens

Yesterday, being a lovely day and us having Neil’s sister visiting, we took ourselves off to the Lakes and Gardens at Cricket St Thomas for a wander around.  We had never been before so it was a new one on all of us.  We started off by going past a little church that was originally for the estate.


Then as we turned the corner we saw a magnificent tree in the foreground of the house, which is now a Warner Leisure hotel.


You will note the figure doing a head stand in the foreground, that is actually a brass figure.  There were quite a few brass figures around the gardens, mostly of children playing.


As we walked down the hill there were great views of the lakes.


We saw in the distance a red bridge and walked nearer to see if we could cross it.


We found that it was a railway bridge and there used to be a little train that ran round the grounds and took visitors to Noel Edmund’s “Mr Blobby Land”, that isn’t there any more.  We couldn’t cross the bridge as it was closed to pedestrians.

There were waterfalls:


And a grotto with a waterfall in front:-


Everywhere you looked there were lovely views:-


We stumbled across a really tall monkey puzzle tree that must have been quite old, looking at it’s size.


At the bottom of a path I found a circular piece of modern art, through which I took a photo of a little bridge.


On the road out of the estate we passed fields of sheep and cows.  Here the cows (or more precisely bullocks) were right by the road, so I am glad they were not blocking our route.


Along the road out we saw this sign about pheasants:


As we exited the estate and were about to turn out onto the road we had this gorgeous view of the countryside.


All in all it was a lovely afternoon walk and we didn’t even have to pay an entry fee.

If you want to visit Cricket St Thomas Lakes and Gardens for yourself, why not stay at our B&B?  look us up at

or our phone and tablet friendly website is

Please like us on facebook at





Comments (8)