Having enjoyed an excellent pub lunch at The Five Mile House where the cheery landlord offered free beer to all who might want it, (there were several takers), we set out for Misarden Park.
Our arrival was greeted by the roar of hedge trimmers as the work force was giving the splendid Yew hedges their late August trim. The walled garden with its herbaceous borders lining a lawn which led down to the main house was impressive, although a lot of the flowers were past their best. We had been told at the previous garden that the flowering season was two to three weeks earlier than in previous years due to the ‘funny’ summer we had had.
At the far end of the walled garden was a Parterre with a sundial at its centre and slightly apart a wonderful summerhouse built from reclaimed stone and tiles from the estate to celebrate the Millennium, and a rill with a fountain. The yellow Kniphofia along the border lent a splash of colour to an otherwise dreary day.
Approaching the front of the house the full glory of the view across Golden Valley became evident. There were grass steps set into lawns. There was a hazel avenue and various plantings which complimented the Cotswold stone terrace leading to the front of the main house which was built in 1620 with the East Wing and Loggia added in 1923, designed by Edwin Lutyens. A superb Cedar of Lebanon was situated at the end of the terrace.
Tea, cakes and scones with cream and jam were served by Major Tom Wills who gave a brief talk on the history of the house and estate. The area in which tea was being served was burnt down on the last day of the First World War and it had taken five hours for the horse drawn fire engine to arrive once the boy on the bicycle had alerted them to the fire!
Suitably refreshed after tea there was just time to explore the rest of the garden (including the raised vegetable beds and fruit trees) and to savour the peace and quiet of this idyllic spot. Apparently if you hear a train from afar it will rain within twenty four hours.
The twelve and a half acres is managed by two full time and one part time gardener. Situated seven hundred and fifty feet above sea level the temperature dropped to minus sixteen at its coldest last winter.
The estate lets out buildings to commercial tenants one of whom manufactures false teeth, (if only we had known)!
Members of Fagus could not resist visiting the nearby Miserden Nursery where many purchases were made before we embarked on the bus and drove through the pretty village of Miserden to make our way to the M5 and home.
With many apologies for missing the bus; Judy and David Crawford