Around this time last year we had a few days away in Dorset and finally managed to stop off at Stourhead on our way to the South West. Despite it being winter there was still plenty to see. I think visiting gardens at this time of year is revealing. I mean, if gardens can look good - and hold your interest - at this time of year, without the frills and fluff of flowers then it must be a pretty special garden.
Over the winter months the structure, and structures, in a garden are revealed. Stourhead has a few famous vistas, which we saw as we walked around the lake. There was also work underway which included draining part of the lake so we got to see more of the lake than perhaps we usually would.
...Or less of the lake, I guess depending on your viewpoint.
Even so, the lake that was there was pretty clear and reflected the trees well. It was definitely a view you could just sit and watch...
As we headed around the lake we soon found ourselves at the Grotto, with its pebbled floor, coloured walls and snatched views over the lake.
The skylight caught my eye, as it threw light into the space.
We stopped on the muddy path on many occasions to admire the view, it really is pretty special don't you think?
The dogwoods were looking particularly spectacular, I think this is colour I can only dream of for my own dogwoods in the garden.
Stourhead was owned by the Hoare family who made their money in banking; they are the last independent bank and the family are still involved in its running today. The Trust have been managing Stourhead since 1947 and like many of its houses and gardens are continually undertaking work on its upkeep.
Work on the pantheon had recently taken place and we peeked in between the wrought iron gates to see inside. I wasn't expecting this:
As ever, I looked up and this time saw a more fancy skylight.
Continuing our walk around the lake and over the bridge, we stopped to notice the coins which were now visible with less water in the lake. I do wonder if the properties welcome these, and if when times are hard go for a bit of a sweep up. Perhaps it's the stately home equivalent of checking the sofa for loose change, who knows?
So now that we've actually managed to stop at Stourhead en-route to the South West I'm pretty sure we will again. It'd be great to see how it's changed, and as ever is much more preferable to a service station stop!