Ancient trees and the Spanish Armada

One of the loveliest things about visiting Croft Castle in Herefordshire is to see the many ancient trees planted there. Majestic chestnuts and oaks some going back hundreds of years.


A story tells that sweet chestnuts were taken from captured Spanish ships and planted at Croft between 1580 and 1680. The avenue is said to represent the formal battle plan of the Spanish Armada with rows of chestnuts representing the Spanish ships and oaks the English. This was the original formal approach to the castle.

Continue reading Ancient trees and the Spanish Armada

autumnal colour

Ailsa is looking for intensity this week so what about this apple orchard inside the walled garden at Berrington Hall? There was a lot of vibrant colour there this week: the fiery reds and sulphuric yellows were in competition.

I’m delighted to see so much colour around at this time of year. I shall soak it in to get me through the grey days of the coming winter.

Park Life

Sunday was a beautiful day. The sun was shining. It was reasonably warm for the time of year and it was my birthday. To celebrate we went for a walk in a nearby National Trust parkland, Berrington Hall, where a new route has been created through the broadleaf-woodland, followed by coffee and cake in the courtyard with live music from a folk group celebrating the apple harvest and a last lingering stroll around the walled garden and orchard simply dripping with apples of all colours and sizes. Care to join me?


We decided to follow the blue route but cut alongside the lake and then follow the yellow route to cut across and join the blue one again. Although we have visited Berrington many times, it has always been during the period when the lake walk is closed due to grey herons nesting there between March and July.

Looking back towards the house, built in 1775 by Thomas Harley and designed by Henry Holland in the latest French influenced Neo-classical style. Continue reading Park Life

Travel Theme: Interior

If you are wondering what to do with all your empty wine bottles then how about building a folly?

 A sparkling interior.

This 5,000 recycled wine bottle folly is in Westonbury Mill Water Garden near the “Black and White” village of Pembridge in Herefordshire.


I’ll even help you to drink the wine 🙂

A Spring Walk in Herefordshire

I discovered another garden not too far from here a few weeks ago. Apparently it is used as a location in ‘The English Garden’ magazine if anyone reads that. It also has a small café in a beautiful Tithe barn serving lunches and cakes, warm lemon & treacle tart anyone? So definitely worth a visit, although on this particular day I was feeling rather ill so had to sit and watch the OH devour a lovely chicken sandwich.

tithe barn

This post is linked with Cee’s Which Way Challenge, Jo’s Monday Walk and this week’s Travel Theme from Ailsa which is Blossom.

The Granary

Probably the first thing you notice once you enter the gardens through the Cider Press, is this gorgeous Granary with the Oast Houses. I used to think Oast Houses only existed in Kent. Not so, there are quite a few in Herefordshire and Worcestershire and still plenty of hops in the fields.


I spent a fair while just photographing these gorgeous old buildings before venturing into the gardens themselves.  But what a treat awaited me.


The problem was where to start? The Pigeon House Garden? The Spring Garden? What a choice.



The Spring Garden was a delight with these jewel-like anemones flowering in the sun. A crooked path leading to a sweet little summer-house with magnolia blossom overhead.


Leaving the Spring Garden behind brings you out in front of the Manor House, with pots of bright tulips outside the porch and walls festooned with budding wisteria. The Main Lawn softens the driveway which leads to the farmyard. And a barn with bells.


The Bathing Pool Garden was intriguing, especially as this leads to the Rock Pools where Fritillaria meleagris and Pulsatilla vulgaris  flowered around the pool and blossom hung overhead.



Doorways and water features entice you into the Elizabethan Garden with violet-blue clematis dripping over the wall.



Next the Long Walk leads you past the Kitchen Garden, the Sunken Garden, the Pillar Garden and finally the Paddock Garden. See the blossom?




With plants and pots and watering-cans to catch the eye.

The path leads down to the Dingle, the furthest area of this lovely garden and where the Spring and the Grotto can be found. A very peaceful place to stop and rest and absorb the beauty of nature.




Lots of little paths to wander along.



And a wider one which leads to the Grotto. But watch your step!



Finally on the way back to the exit there are the Iris Walk and the Greenhouses which I can never resist having a nosey in. The irises weren’t in flower, so another visit is required, very soon. But I did find some mistletoe growing on a fruit tree.



Before you leave, have a browse around the plant sales which is behind the Cider Press and where you’ll find the Rill and a pair of Welsh Dragons 🙂



I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Stockton Bury Gardens in Herefordshire. It has a very long history as there has been a dwelling on this site since 660. The ‘Bury’ is a Saxon word for Court House or Mansion House and was given the status of a Manor in the reign of Edward III.