banner

UERSA home

Constitution

Executive Committee 

Facilities available for Retired Staff

Forthcoming Events and Calendar

Newsletters and Archives

Picture Gallery


SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS


General Notes and Contacts
Restaurants
Badminton
Bridge
Wine
Gardens
Walking
Table Tennis
Nature Walks
Cinema
Music and Opera
Theatre and Shows

GARDENS GROUP 2017

Welcome to new and existing members of the Group. I’m writing this on one the wettest days this year/winter but plants are springing into life; daffodils, snowdrops, camellias and miscari are all out. I shall try to arrange roughly one visit per month between March and September. I am choosing a mixture of days, where I can, to try and be helpful, but I know that whatever I choose it won’t be convenient for everyone, similarly for venues. We go whatever the weather forecast, we’ve a pretty good record, even during wet years.

See below for a summary of the first four visits for this season. All the details can be found in the Newsletter here.

I hope there is something here to interest you. When it comes to directions, I give those from the Yellow Book or the appropriate website, the postcode and the map reference, so don’t blame me if you get lost!

This year I’ve managed to arrange parking at The Toby Inn, Middlemoor, they couldn’t take us last year. It is £1 per car and there is a loo if you slip quietly in. Parking is in the rear car park, off Rydon Lane not off the Sidmouth Road. The H bus and Sidmouth buses go out to Middlemoor. According to Google it’s a 12 min walk from Sowton and Digby Station.

As usual I’ve got lots of ideas for visits and I’ve tried to bear in mind that many of you say you like having a house to see as well. Not always possible though.

Anne

Visits for 2017

Friday 31st March

Wood Barton, Kentisbeare, EX15 2AT OS192 055090

Meet at 14.30 by the entrance. 8m SE of Tiverton, 3m E of Cullompton. 3m from M5 J28. A373 Cullompton to Honiton. 2m L to Bradfield/Willand, Horn Rd. After 1m at Xrds turn R. Farm drive ½m on L. Bull on sign.

Entrance including tea and cake, £6.
This is a visit just for us so please let me know if you intend to come.

Friday 21st April

Castle Hill Gardens Filleigh EX32 0RH OS 180 662278

Meet at 11.30 at the entrance. http://www.castlehilldevon.co.uk/
Leave the A361 (North Devon Link Road) at roundabout signed South Molton onto B3226. Take second turning right signed Stags Head and Filleigh. Shortly after passing through Stags Head, look out for the yellow mansion on the right. Follow the brown sign and drive through gates on the right hand bend and continue towards house. For gardens, turn left at small crossroads signed 'Parking for Gardens'.

Entrance is £6 unless you are an RHS Member when it is free as a Partner Garden in April.
Please let me know if you intend to come.

Thursday 11th May

Bowood House and Gardens Calne Wiltshire

http://www.bowood.org/bowood-house-gardens/

This is a visit by coach. We will leave the car park at The Toby Inn at 08.30 returning around 18.00 hrs. The coach company is Dartline.

There is a lot more about the house on the website. I have booked an hour long tour of the house for our group. There is a restaurant as well as a café.
Coach is £14.20 and entrance and house tour is £14.50. Please therefore, send me a cheque for £28.70 made payable to the University of Exeter. Please check first that places are available.

Thurday 22nd June

South Wood Farm Cotleigh EX14 9HU

Meet at 14.00hrs at the entrance.

3m NE of Honiton. From Honiton head N on A30, take 1st R past Otter Dairy layby. Follow for 1m. Go straight over Xrds and take first L. Entrance after 1m on R. £5 + £3 for (a very good) tea and cake. This is owned by a fellow academic with a very good Head Gardener!

This is another visit arranged just for us so I need a minimum of 15 for it to go ahead. Please let me know if you intend to come.

July, August and September visits are still being arranged.

For all visits please let me know by email first. a.c.mayes@exeter.ac.uk

Thursday 20th July

Hawkern, Otterton

Details to follow.



Reports for 2017

Wood Barton - March
Wood BartonWood BartonA very keen group, in excess of 20, arrived early for the first visit of the year. We were welcomed by the owner, Rosemary Horton, who was known to some of our group through NADFAS. She very kindly offered to guide us round the garden, an offer we gratefully accepted. The garden was looking very colourful with several magnolia stellata and other magnolias, daffodils, camellias and azaleas all in flower. The two acre arboretum also benefits from many well established and quite magnificent trees. Later there would be rhododendrons in flower and wonderful colour from the acers. The bluebells were just about to flower and would provide a carpet of colour under the trees.
Wood Barton
As usual there were some bulbs and shrubs which we struggled to name but were encouraged to find that their names had also, momentarily of course, escaped Rosemary's memory too.
There are several ponds and water features to add to the interest. Another feature were the various artistic pieces in a variety of different materials - metal, stone and wood.
Wood Barton
For our tea and cake we had a choice of being inside or outside and wherever we were we settled down for a good chat and catch up over our teas. A very enjoyable visit.

This is an idyllic spot looking out over open fields, but having seen the map of the proposed new garden village between Cullompton and Kentisbeare it would appear that the outlook may change in the future.

ACM
Castle Hill Gardens - April
Castle HillWe were a group of 19 (and two four legged members) which caused a slight concern the day before over having enough food for our lunches. The lady very kindly asked what we would like and said she would go shopping. It was fine, we had a very nice lunch.Castle Hill
The view of the house as you turn off the road is stunning, it's very long and in a striking ochre colour. I must admit that my first thought was, "how much did the paint cost and how long did it take?".
Parking was easy and right by the entrance kiosk and tea room. We had a warm welcome and, as we were early, ordered coffee which came in individual cafetieres providing a good two cups.Castle Hill
As we waited for everyone to arrive we were delighted to be approached by Lady Arran who welcomed us and offered us a tour of her private greenhouse where she specialises in pelargoniums. We gratefully accepted and we're able to buy some of them too. We admired the Garden House which she and her husband have moved into leaving the big house for the next generation. Downsizing was to a five bedroomed house, but it was newly built (1989) and clearly much more convenient for the retired though there didn't seem to be much evidence that either of them were slackening off.Castle Hill
Lunch was light but just what we wanted, very nice baguettes or quiche or soup. Quick and friendly service from the ladies in the kiosk.
Then to the garden and grounds. They are magnificent and so colourful at this time of year. We were given a guide with a very clear map, a rarity these days. Numerous magnolias, camellias, azaleas and lots of bulbs. The bluebells were fully out and, particularly behind the house, provided thick carpets under the flowering shrubs and trees. The path along the river was an easy one and very scenic.
Castle HillQuite a few of us climbed to the Castle from where there is a 360 degree view, including Lundy in the distance. You get an idea of the extent of the estate from here as you pick up feature follies on the horizon, a bit like Stourhead. After that we felt we deserved tea with slices of delicious locally made cake. Well, it was only a short staggering distance to the cars and we were carrying all our pelargoniums. These had very kindly been brought down to the exit by the Earl who clearly enjoyed whizzing round in his quad bike and trailer.
This is a wonderful day out for all ages and everyone we met was so helpful and friendly. I think quite a few of us will be back. Can't decide whether the highlight was being given a tour by Lady Arran or the number of artificial hips which made the steep climb up to the Castle!

ACM
Bowood House - May
This turned out to be one of our best visits, thoroughly enjoyed by everyone who went. Unfortunately several of the group who had intended to go were not well enough and we wish them rapid recoveries.
BowoodBowood was approached by an exceedingly long drive but just as we were wondering if we had the right road it opened out into the car park where we were given a warm welcome by Debbie who had been dealing with our booking. The Tree House Cafe was here at the entrance so many of us took the opportunity to consult the map we'd been given and plan our routes over some refreshments.

BowoodThe grounds are vast - 100 acres- and very impressive, in true Capability Brown style. The vistas are stunning, a new one opening with every corner turned. There are formal Gardens, in Italianate style, in front of the Orangery and a very colourful long border along the side of the house. There is also a private walled garden but we hadn't booked for that, preferring to book the house tour.

Our guide was Deidre who gave us a very informative hour long tour. BowoodShe gave us the history of the house and also of the Lansdowne family, owners since 1754. The original house had been demolished after WW2 and the Orangery, designed by Adams, was converted into living quarters and the part which is open to the public. BowoodI think we were all surprised by the number and variety of the exhibits, paintings, drawings, sculptures, furniture - including Queen Victoria's wedding chair - Napoleon's death mask and other memorabilia - and items from one Marquis's term as Viceroy of India. We crowded into the library where Joseph Priestly discovered oxygen, unfortunately no equipment left now. Much more can be gleaned from their website.

We had a choice of food outlets as there was a restaurant by the gift shop in the Orangery. We probably wouldn't have enjoyed the grounds and gardens so much if it had been raining, but this was the Gardens Group, so it wasn't!

ACM

For details please contact Anne Mayes.

To see reports of past events, please go to the Newsletters and Archives page, where you will find links to pdf files for previous years.