The coach left Petersfield promptly at 8:30 am with forty members and friends and after a short stop at Stourhead, arrived at Hestercombe Gardens in Somerset to enjoy the stunning Victorian/Georgian gardens made famous by Sir Edward Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll. We arrived at the spacious and comfortable Best Western Hotel in Tiverton in time for dinner.
We had a very interesting morning visit to Dartington Crystal at Great Torrington and were able to watch the skilled teams at work blowing and working the molten glass into many intricate designs. We then continued to RHS Rosemoor in time for lunch with free time to enjoy the magnificent rose garden among the many delights of this extensive true plantsman’s garden.
Our morning visit was to the 600-year-old Powderham Castle and the 4000-acre estate of The Earl of Devon which is still the home of the Courtney family. The guided castle tour was followed by a light lunch and a free roaming visit to Exeter, parking very close to the cathedral.
We headed North through Exmoor Park to the village of Dunster. Dunster Castle (NT), dominates the countryside from the top of a steep hill. The quality of the information packs and expertise of the guides in each room gave in depth detail to the evolution of the area over almost 1000 years. The village is very attractive with a large yarn market built in the main street in the early 1600s.
We then travelled a short distance to Knighthayes, an interesting Gothic Revival house with extensive nineteenth century gardens and parkland.
Sadly our return home day, but we had an excellent en route visit to Forde Abbey and Gardens which has a 900-year history, much of it as an Abbey to an order of Cistercian Monks. The 180-foot fountain jet out of the main lake was a spectacular feature as were the extensive gardens and ponds.
We were blessed throughout the holiday with excellent warm and sunny weather, so coats were soon abanboned and there was a real rapport among the party with a lot of happy chat and banter with relaxing coffee table groups lingering long after dinner was complete.
Angela Snow, as holiday organiser, was warmly thanked for achieving another well organised and smooth running holiday and is already well advanced in turning the 2023 holiday based in Chester into reality. Don’t forget to book early!!!