Killerton's more unusual additions

So for my final instalment of my Killerton Fest I'm sharing some of its more unusual additions, which include a Bear's Hut and an Ice House, but first we explored some more of the grounds and walked off a very nice lunch! We headed over the rustic bridge, which I couldn't resist photographing from many different angles and soon afterwards we quite literally stumbled across the tree roots and I was off again...

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The trees too, came in many different shapes and sizes. Big and small, and some felled too - see Black & White photo #15: Inside a tree.

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As with many National Trust gardens there were plenty of paths allowing you to explore the grounds in your own way, in your own time. There were also plenty of benches, lots positioned to take advantage of the vistas across the Devon countryside. There's also an interesting trail around the garden explaining how the plants were used as natural dyes which complements the fashion exhibition - The Nature of Fashion - in the house. 

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You're probably thinking that it doesn't sound very unusual so far, well our next stop was at the Bear's Hut. Yes, that's a bit more unusual isn't it?  The summer-house, which was built for Lady Lydia Acland later became known as the Bear's Hut after her grandson, Gilbert, housed a pet bear there which he had shipped over from Canada. Like you do!

The summer-house turned Bear's Hut

The summer-house turned Bear's Hut

The bear lived in somewhat luxury (well I imagine, for a bear). There's three rooms in this small building, each of which are built of different materials. There's floors of cobbles, log sections and deer's knuckle bones (yes!) and for the ceilings there's basketry, matting and deer skins. Sadly my pictures don't do them justice, but it's a fascinating little place, even more so for its unusual occupant!

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One of the rooms even has a stained glass window - just what every bear needs - which dates back to the sixteenth century. 

The stained glass window viewed from the outside

The stained glass window viewed from the outside

Throughout the gardens there's some enchanting deer sculptures (thankfully there weren't any bears) grouped in naturalistic layouts and poses. I was really quite taken with these and would quite happily have taken (at least) one home with me. MOH clearly worried that we'd end up with our own herd of (static) deer hurried me along to the next unusual addition.  

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Just look at the patterns of the bark on this tree

Just look at the patterns of the bark on this tree

We walked through lush green paths with rocky boulders which led to the estate's Ice House.  It was built in 1808 and is a brick-lined pit over 20 feet deep and is complete with a drain at the bottom. In 1809 it took 30 men over five days to stow 40 tons of ice.  Insulated with straw this was considered enough to last the household about three years.  Imagine that. There was a definite drop in temperature as you entered, but storing ice for three years seems an amazing feat. Just as I was wondering what on earth they'd use to store the gin in and how big that might be, I read that the ice was used in the kitchens and cellars for cooling rooms or soothing fevers. Oh well...

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Out of the Ice House and back at the normal temperature we spotted this beautiful honeysuckle and one of the blue-est hydrangeas I think I've seen. And more gnarly trees. 

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It was about now that the cow's prediction came true (see - Killerton: colourful borders & a love of Sea Holly) so we took the opportunity to see the house. Once outside again I was determined to use this elegant gate to head towards the chapel.

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And then with our visit complete we headed back to the car park where we spotted some beautiful magnolia trees which were too pretty not to photograph. 

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We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Killerton and it'd be great to go back at different times of the year to see how the garden changes. So there's a high chance you may see more pictures at a future date from Killerton, but for now this is the last post in my very own Killerton Fest!

Linking up to Our World Tuesday.