North Devon and Exmoor Gardens
There is a fairly good choice of gardens to visit, both in North Devon and Exmoor. This area is usually blessed with mild winters, enabling more delicate flowers to be grown. Distances from the hotel are shown in brackets.
Greencombe Gardens is the handywork of one dedicated lady, Joan Loraine. It is a small (3.5 acres) garden along a wooded slope overlooking the Bristol Channel. It is an organic garden using their own compost and leaf-mould. It contains the National Collections for Erythronium (small mountain lilies); Polystichum (the thumbs-up fern); Vaccinium (Wortleberries); Gaultheria (Berries for Bears). It is a beautiful garden well worth a visit. (9 miles)
Hestercombe Gardens are set in 50 acres of Somerset. They include a Victorian Shrubbery, the Edwardian Formal Gardens and the Georgian Landscape Garden. Have fun discovering the two lakes, the Gothic Alcove, the Temple Arbour, the Mausoleum and the Witch House. Also find the old Water Mill with its Dynamo House and Mill Room and the Great Cascade. (22 miles)
Arlington Court (NT)
Arlington Court is North Devon’s only National Trust house open to visitors. It was owned by the Chichester family, with Sir Francis Chichester being one of the family rising to fame when he sailed single-handed around the world in Gypsy Moth IV. The Regency house inside is ornate and full of collections made by the family. The Victorian Gardens include a large conservatory growing plants from across the globe. The gardens have herbaceous borders, annuals and azaleas, a walled kitchen garden and a lake. Don’t miss the National Trust Carriage Museum which is the largest collection after the Queen’s own collection. (31 miles)
Castle Hill Gardens
The landscaped gardens at Castle Hill were created by Lord Fortescue in the 18th century. A grand Palladian house is situated within the gardens. A millennium garden, designed by Xa Tollemache, features a water sculpture by Giles Rayner with clipped Quercus ilex standards and lavender and box hedging enclosing herbaceous plants. Discover the “castle” folly through the woodland and enjoy widespread views. (31 miles)
Rosemoor RHS Gardens
RHS Rosemoor Gardens are about a mile outside Great Torrington. You can easily spend a whole day here, visiting the original old rose gardens, the fruit and vegetable gardens, the lake and bog gardens, the arboretum and of course the tea rooms. There are often exhibitions and events going on as well. There is an RHS shop and plant sales. A great day out for the whole family.
Hartland Abbey Gardens
Hartland Abbey is on the site of a 12th century Augustinian Abbey. It has been in the same family since it was given to a member of the family by Henry VIII. The Abbey and gardens sit in a valley running down to the sea at Blackpool Mill. The ‘Ladies Walk’ leads to the secret walled gardens among the trees. This well-sheltered garden is home to many tender plants. (61 miles)
Docton Mill Gardens
Docton Mill Gardens are hidden away in the quiet lanes around Hartland. You will find a magnolia garden, herbaceous borders and wild flower-strewn woodlands to enjoy. The mill leat runs the whole length of the garden and centres on the planting. Afterwards you can enjoy a cream tea in the award-winning tearooms. (62 miles)
Clovelly Court Gardens
These recently renovated walled kitchen gardens include Victorian lean-to glasshouses, twelve-foot-high walls with fruit trees planted against them. A selection of tender fruits and vegetables as well as pelargoniums grow in the glasshouses. You can buy their organic vegetables, flowers and plants from the village tourist centre.