Monday, 26 July 2010

A lovely day at Athelhampton House

The day was yesterday, Sunday, and a decision was made to finally visit Athelhampton House.
I have lived in this area all of my life, and A has for about the last 20 years of hers, and neither of us had been before. Shocking I know, especially as it's only a half hour drive away, but it was always on the 'must do' list, but never 'done'.

Boy oh boy! What a place! Is it for sale and if so, for how much? An extraordinarily enchanting place. We took so many photos of the gardens and house, but alas, I shall only share a few of the pictures of the gardens, and shall leave the rest to your imagination.

The house itself is open to the public, and is used by the present owners who have a private part of it to themselves, although the public area is also used extensively. An amazing house that one can only wonder at what it must be like to grow up in as a child. Enchanting stairways of stone and oak, copper baths, oak panelling and secret doorways...a childhood dream! Shall it be hide and seek....or a game of 'it'.

For the adults, there are beautifully intimate and ancient rooms with oak tables and chairs for having family and friends for dinner, or maybe just simply sitting around a giant open fire on well worn sofas with a cognac.....bliss!
Snooker table and wine cellar, art gallery attic to four poster bed.

The grounds are very obviously loved by both the owners, and more importantly the gardeners.
Impressive topiary lends formality, whilst the generous use of herbaceous perennials brings that colourful 'fluffiness' that is quintessentially English.

A Lime tree walk, and I couldn't resist taking a picture of A as she wandered through.

This garden was one of my favourites. Peaceful, cool, and with the sound of the fountain just simply so restful. From a gardening perspective, the bit that I liked the most was the use of the walling against the clipped Yews.

I suppose that it is the estate gardener coming out in me, but how good is this? Both rigid, grand and hard in their appearence, but one made of stone and the other living.

At one end of the gardens is the River Piddle......good name!
As we took a few minutes to just rest and take in the tranquility of this spot, a family of swans drifted up. The male, who is on the left, kept close watch over his mate and the signets, and was very definitely last to leave after having first swam about checking the banks more closely, presumably for an odd hungry fox.

The whole place went together incredibly well. Very often, a house will overshadow the grounds, but here all was in symbiosis. We shall be coming back regularly!

I must apologise if I haven't posted much lately, and particularly about work. I plan to put that right tomorrow. Until then, bless you all and have a peaceful night.


  1. Dear Gary, It is years since I was at Athelhampton, and only on one occasion at that. But this posting has brought it all back to me and it really is, as you say, a lovely place. I so remember that quaintly walled garden with the pool at its centre - probably my favourite spot too. I am so glad that you both enjoyed it and am delighted that you have posted about it.

    Do you know Mapperton [also in Dorset] and another favourite of mine? Probably less well kept than Athelhampton but wonderfully atmospheric.

  2. Hi Edith,
    I know Mapperton, but like Athelhampton, it is another local gem that neither of us has visited. I don't know why, but we have only been to gardens further afield. Fom now on though, this shall be rectified, first with Athelhampton.........and now Mapperton!

  3. Gary, What a wonderful place! Such a place one would wish to get lost in and not found. - G

  4. Gary, I cannot blame you for wanting to visit often. Absolutely phenominal!!