"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Another trip to Herefordshire - Part 1: Hampton Court Castle Gardens


Last week B and I went back to Herefordshire. We travelled on Monday morning thinking it would be quieter but there were signs notifying of a 45 minute delay by Worcester so we left the M5 at Droitwich and then failed to remember the exact way! We got lost so many times (and yes we did try to cut across country again - bad mistake!) that it took 2 hours instead of less than 90 minutes.

We had the usual click and collect in Leominster in the afternoon.

Tuesday was hot and sunny so we decided to return to Hampton Court Castle gardens which were so lovely last summer.

Ox-eye daisies by the car park and we saw a Whitethroat in the hedgerow.

Hampton Court is a castellated country house with the oldest parts including the chapel dating back to 1427. Various additions and alterations have been made since and the castle has now been fully restored.  The most recent owner is Robert Van Kampen, an American millionaire, who bought the castle in the 1990's.

The present gardens sit in two walled gardens designed by Simon Dorrell and David Wheeler with Chadburn Ltd of Bath in 1996/8.  For the creation of the landscaped park some centuries ago Humphrey Repton was consulted in 1795 and 1810.

The Walled Gardens

There was a lovely display of oriental poppies of many shades of colour.

I love sweet williams as they always remind me of my father and grandfather's gardens. The perfume was incredible and foxgloves had been planted among them.

Part of the vegetable garden

and a lovely spiral herb garden - I would love one of these!

The Rose Garden

The Dutch Garden

Island Pavilions

Pleached lime trees

We passed through the most beautiful Wisteria arch to reach the grounds. This was probably the highlight of my visit - it was stunning.

By now it was getting hot so time for a Magnum!

We decided to do the River Walk again (there is a longer walk you can do but to be honest it was just too hot!)

The cows were being sensible sheltering under the trees! and it was lovely to see calves feeding having read so many horror stories of calves being removed from their mothers very quickly in  intensively reared herds on other farms.

Dinmore Hill in the distance (Queenswood Arboretum is on this hill about 5 minutes drive away).

We saw a Kingfisher dart along the river and there were many holes in the bank that looked very much as though they could belong to water voles.


Back to the castle - it is open for visitors  and one day I would love to see it but as I have mentioned before B doesn't really like house interiors and if I am honest I am still wary of going indoors.

B had a walk round the Sunken Garden which still had a one way system in operation. I didn't go this time as exciting as the walk behind the waterfall was I didn't really wish to repeat it.

Back into the Walled Gardens

This is the Gothic Tower in a separate garden with a maze which is still closed to visitors.  

The gardens are very lovely and you can buy a season ticket which is something we might consider in future years if the threat of lockdowns ever completely recedes.  It is only 20 minutes from the caravan so easy to visit.

Part 2 will include a visit to a National Trust Property which we haven't visited before.

Stay safe and well everyone.

All photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera.


Bovey Belle said...

This I think is near enough for a day out for us. You've sold it to me! What wonderful photographs of wonderful gardens. I feel in need of a Proper Day Out (once the pollen is over). I really REALLY am in need of a good walk too. . .

Looking forward to Part II.

Ragged Robin said...

Bovey Belle - Thanks so much. Its Leominster side of Bodenham if that helps and no prebooking required at the moment. From memory £8.50 admission but check their website to be sure. Do hope you can visit once pollen is over as gardens are lovely and I've just seen on twitter they are adding willow sculptures :) Two walks - short river loop walk takes about 20 minutes and longer walk about an hour!

Rosie said...

What a lovely garden with so much of interest. Every corner looks delightful. I like the spiral herb garden and the lovely wisteria arch also the modern figures dotted around. The sweet williams are lovely too:)

CherryPie said...

I love this garden, I first encountered it on a holiday a few years ago and revisited last year between the lockdowns.

We revisited last year (the house wasn't open). I can't wait to go back again when hopefully the maze will also be open. I love that bit of the garden.

Rustic Pumpkin said...

Save the riverside walk for another, cooler day, for with such a gorgeous place to visit, and with changing seasons so worth returning through the year. I love the poppies, but oh! the wisteria must have smelled divine. Haven't had a Magnum in years, but recently discovered Nuii. A choc ice on another level. Do you know of any purpose to those sculptures in the garden? Stay Safe! {I trust Timothy is still being kept at home?}

Ragged Robin said...

Rosie - Thanks so much. B is on about growing some sweet williams for our garden here - we also saw a lot at Berrington Hall. I would love to emanate that spiral herb garden idea :)

CherryPie - Thank you - I think the visit you made featured on your website was what encouraged us to visit last year. We went twice and first time house not open but the second time it was. I'm hoping maze will re-open too as my son would love that complete with the Gothic Tower!

Rustic Pumpkin - Thank you - yes I thought the same about visiting during different seasons :) Thanks for tip re: Nuii - something to look out for! :) Not sure of purpose of sculptures tbh but they are scary! - the Pied Piper of Hamelin is still there with children following but located in a different place! Stay safe too - Timothy was with us but left at OFFA - for the first time I was tempted to take him out but chickened out!

The Quacks of Life said...

i love the other Hampton Court .. Poor Timothy :(

Ragged Robin said...

The Quacks of Life - Thanks Pete. Timothy is fine - he had a glass of wine to compensate - lol!!!