There are many special and unique secrets hidden away in South Somerset, none more so than the gardens at Wayford Manor House and Gardens, located between Crewkerne and Chard.
Designed originally by Harold Peto in 1902, the gardens surround and descend from the 13th century manor house. There is an eclectic assortment of terraces that represent the changes in styles and fashions during the 20th century, from the more formal yew hedges and topiary at the top leading to the Arts and Crafts style with its perfectly manicured grass tennis court, down to the informal wild gardens below.
I visited the gardens on Easter Sunday when the April showers had finally abated and there was a beautiful blue sky with a few white fluffy clouds floating around. The ground underfoot was a little boggy in places, but with the south facing gardens, the mass of flora had managed to escape the worst of the hard frosts and there were some magnificent displays of magnolia and even a rhododendron.
The daffodils were in full swing, but still with many more yet to bloom and other spring flowers included primroses and tulips.
The ponds and pools added another dimension to the gardens, with the top pool feeding the lower ponds. There were some interesting but at the same time simple water features that provided very soothing and pleasant water sounds, that, mixed with the spring charged chatter from the robins and thrushes, made a perfect audible mix of nature waking from a long winter sleep.
Each section of the garden suited a different mood and if I was ever lucky enough to live in such an environment, there would always be a terrace to match my humour or perhaps snap me out of a sulk.
From the topiary rabbit to the host of golden daffodils, there is something there for everyone whatever their mood and whilst the ‘open gardens’ are limited to the National Garden Scheme days, it is well worth the trip.
You may also venture next door to the 13th century church. It is a very plain and inconsequential place of worship that has sadly been subjected to 20th century rendering, but it all adds to the medieval hamlet of Wayford Manor.
Author Sophia Moseley (copyright)