Gardens and grottoes. . . .

I thought I must share this with you all.

Recently, I went with friends to Dewstow Gardens which are being re-instated  and  have been opened up to the public for about 10 years.  It is on the Severn Estuary; Chepstow area.  Nowhere else is there supposed to be a garden quite like this.

On a glorious hot Monday morning we set off for our day trip of about 60 miles.  After about an hour and a half (lot of traffic towards the M4 ) we found the country lane that leads to the gardens  and as we turned into the driveway to the property we espied a large white,  unimposing house and arrived at a not overlarge car park area under trees.  We then headed to a wooden cabin that functions as a very nice cafe and small shop where you pay to enter and  where you are furnished with a small leaflet and map of the garden.  Then the magic begins……. as you head deeper into the garden through winding paths and tunnels, over streams  and stepping stones deeper into the grottoes and caverns of this “fantasy” garden.  It was very dramatic and this is my interpretation of the first grotto – the sunlight filtering through from above was  quite ethereal . . . catching the flashes of orange on the goldfish. . . . quite extraordinary . . . . . .

denstow1

There is a more conventional garden also, above ground,  which was lovely with plenty of places to sit and enjoy the surroundings.

Below is the history from their website:

In 1893, “Mr Henry Roger Keane Oakley” became the owner of the Dewstow Estate. Henry Oakley, or Squire Oakley as he was known locally was a director on the Great Western Railway (GWR), but at home, he had two main interests. The first was the breeding of Shire Horses for which he established a reputation for his Horses which were all names with the prefix of “Dewstow”

His other main interest was the growing and cultivation of Ferns, Tropical Flowers and Plants. Shortly after his arrival at Dewstow, he embarked on the creation of a Garden which is remembered by some of the older generation in the area as a wondrous and magical place.

This was a garden, the like of which is not known to exist anywhere else.

On the ground level, there were many Rock Gardens, Ponds, Water features, Ornamental areas, Tropical Glass Houses and a vast variety of Plants, Shrubs and Trees from around the world. These were Spectacular, but not unique.  It is only when you go below these gardens, and you enter the subterranean world underneath, that you begin to understand the extent of the vision and enormous amount of work and skills involved in creating Gardens that were unique at the turn of the 20th Century and as far as we know are still unique at the start of the 21st Century.

Most of the surface gardens were filled in at various points over the years, but excavation has shown that what has been uncovered so far is in excellent condition.

All the glass houses have long gone, as have the ornaments and many special features around the gardens which have been, either broken up or sold by previous owners. The underground network is now opened up and but for a few repairs is in good condition.

We had a lovely day there and when time allows I will do some more pictures from the photos I took  . . . . . and when even more time allows I intend returning  . . . .

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