A Stourhead Stroll

It was a friends birthday back in September and we always have a day out for hers and mine. Busyness tends to delay our trips for a few weeks and this year was no exception. Finally we picked October 30th, but the birthday girl could not think of anywhere to go. Hooray, that meant I was forced to decide! We set off on a damp, grey morning, heading north east from Devon, driving in and out of Somerset, Wiltshire and Dorset, before arriving in Hovis town, that’s Shaftesbury. After a pootle in some very tempting shops we had coffee and toasted tea cake, then hit the road again.

We don’t do things quickly, so it was 2.30 by the time we reached Stourhead with howling tummies. A quick bowl of soup later and we were ready to roll.

Despite several visits to Stourhead, I’ve never seen the 18th Palladian century mansion that is surrounded by the world famous  Henry Hoare designed garden. I’m sure it must be beautiful, but the grounds win every time. The centrepiece of the garden is the lake, with Gothic buildings, and classical temples dotted around the paths.

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A first glimpse of the lake.
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and we take the path on the right towards the summerhouse.
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The sky was too grey for good reflections, but never mind.
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The Pantheon across the water looks closer already.
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I wish I’d been able to capture the shimmer of the leaves beneath the water.
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We’ve crossed a little part of the dam and there was the little island with it’s tulip tree, Liripdendron Tulipifera, in all its golden splendour.

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I like the gentle tilt of these trees.

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These still had plenty of scrunch!

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Some subtle shade,

 

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and an assortment of hues.
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Then the Tulip tree from a different angle.
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The temple of Apollo.
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Stourhead even has a grotto, here I’m looking out from it towards the bridge, where we began our walk.

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Such tranquillity.
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You may remember the bench at the front of this pretty little house, the colour was spectacular here.

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This is the Pantheon. In 2014 some major restoration work took place, ensuring its future for another couple of hundred years, and it looks magnificent.

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I really love that Tulip tree!

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But just look at this beauty.

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Now we’ve come full circle. The cloud had lifted slightly and it was time for tea and cake in the National Trust café, much deserved even though it wasn’t a long walk. Did you have a good time? I hope Jo did and I wonder where her Monday walk will take us.