"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

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Short Visit Herefordshire - Part 1: Hampton Court Castle Gardens and Aardvark Books Brampton Bryan


D and I popped to the caravan for 3 night two weeks ago just for another short break.

The Herefordshire Oak

Thursday was dry with some sunshine and not too hot. It was noticeable how much cooler and fresher it was in Herefordshire especially overnight.

We visited the gardens of Hampton Court Castle. I've been twice before but this was D's first visit.

The present gardens are located in two walled gardens designed by Simon Dorrell and David Wheeler from Chadburn Ltd of Bath in 1996/98.

The landscaped park was designed many years ago and Humphrey Repton was consulted in 1795 and 1810.

The Walled Gardens

One of the Water Pavilions

D and I decided that the sculptures scattered round the gardens and park are characters from fairy tales.  

The Dutch Garden

Due to covid the maze had been closed on my last two visits but it is open now.

We found our way to the Gothic Tower at the centre which you can enter and climb the stairs to the top but this door was locked :( Try as we might we were stuck in this section of the maze and failed to find our way to the other three quarters and the open door.  To be honest it was getting a bit hot by now and I think we had both had enough of constantly re-tracing our steps!

Fairy door in tree in the parkland

Croft Castle is a castellated country house and the older part which includes the chapel dates back to 1427.  The castle has been altered since it was built and additions made.  The most recent owner is Robert Van Kampen - an American billionnaire who bought the castle in the 1990's.

I think there are organised tours of the house interior on various days but I haven't yet been inside.

D and I did the riverside walk.

Hedge Woundwort

When I've done the walk before it was circular but this time part of the route was closed to access so we ended up re-tracing our steps.

Pleached limes back in the Walled Garden.

Rain was forecast on Friday although initially it was mainly dry with some drizzle. I suggested a visit to a village called Brampton Bryan which has a good second hand bookshop called Aardvark Books.

We spent quite a bit of time browsing and buying!

I planned to take a photo of the bookshop when we left and pay a quick visit to the church! (Always a church wherever I visit!) and see if we could see Brampton Bryan Castle from the churchyard but as we left it was tipping down with rain. We waited 20 minutes but it just got heavier and heavier and there was no sign of it stopping so we decided to leave.  The roads especially the initial B roads were awful like rivers!  A result of poor drainage and this huge deluge of biblical proportions!  By the time we had got to Wigmore it had more or less stopped and when we arrived back in Leominster the pavements and roads were completely dry so we were just unlucky. Bookshops are not B's cup of tea so hopefully I can return with D and visit the church and see the castle.  There is a legend attached to Brampton Bryan castle and Lady Brilliana Harley who lived there during the Civil War successfully, with just a handful of servants, kept the castle safe and secure when it was under siege from Royalist troops.

On Saturday we came home around lunchtime. Hopefully we will be going back fairly soon.

I hope everyone is staying safe and well.

All photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera. (I don't particularly rate most of my photos but if anyone wishes to use one I would be grateful for an email first - thanks).


Billy Blue Eyes said...

Nice garden to visit. Like the water pavilions and sculptures

Rustic Pumpkin said...

I'm so glad you went back, Hampton Court Castle gardens are lovely to see. The Herefordshire Oak is magnificent now, although I'm sure it won't be long turning colour. Have you figured out which fairy tale folk you have found? Good haul of books at Aardvark Books, I do love such places.

Ragged Robin said...

Billy Blue Eyes - Thanks so much. We like it there the walled garden is beautiful in particular.

Rustic Pumpkin - Thanks so much. I think you are right about the oak especially this year with dry weather. Pied Piper there is a wolf too (no photo) and the Snow Queen??? Big book shop and not many people in there at all. Wore masks! Will certainly go again.They have new and second hand Logast on Press books - a bonus!!!!

Rosie said...

Two lovely walks the walled gardens looks wonderful as does the riverside walk at the castle. I like the sound of the bookshop and I remember reading about Lady Brilliana Harley ages ago when the 17th century and the civil wars was one of the subjects I studied when I did OU courses. It's a fascinating time full of so many changes. Glad you were able to have another short break:)

Ragged Robin said...

Rosie - Thanks so much. The gardens and grounds there are lovely. Great subject to study for the OU - my son is taking a OU BA Hons History degree at the moment in the hope of changing career eventually from journalism to something in the Heritage sector perhaps. Good to get away and escape problems for a short while!!

The Quacks of Life said...

it's an amazing garden! I've never been in the house either

Ragged Robin said...

The Quacks of Life - Thanks :) Gosh a house you haven't visited!!!!! :) I think it may be entrance on tours on certain days? Not 100% sure tbh.