Sometimes you head off not quite knowing what to expect. At Croome, you get the unexpected.
Croome is a stately home that is now owned by the National Trust. It's on the other side of the motorway from Upton. It's claim to fame is that both house and gardens were designed by Capability Brown and were his his first project and also his only project where he designed both house and garden.
The 'unexpected' comes immediately since the grounds of Croome were used as a top secret RAF base in WWII, Defford.
Most of the base was demolished years ago but this building is now used as the tea room.
I don't know why the RAF buildings were painted black.
The grounds to the estate from Google.
Since we were too early to visit the house we decided to do the walk around the grounds.
You come out of the woods and there is the house across the field with daisies in the foreground. See the big tree on the left? Capability Brown wanted the tree in that position so that you would see the part of the building that did not have a covering of Bath stone.
The view is quite breathtaking.
The Chucrh from where you got the views in the prior photos.
These are the old wooden wheels that the bells were attached to so that they could be rung. The wheels were replaced with new ones.
Naturally there were suitably ostentatious statues of former family members.
And this bloke is perpetually looking up at the armpit of the woman on the right.
A zoom view of the house across the daisies.
But we headed off in another direction that would take us down to the lake.
My mother loved daisies and she would have really enjoyed this walk.
This link is now worth clicking on to read about the house and gardens. It explains that Hortus Croomenis was the non-de-plume of one of the later head gardeners, William Dean.
Under the grate is a culvert used to bring water into the lake and marsh area from surrounding water sources.
Capability Brown turned the bog at the bottom of the hill into a marsh and lake.
The lake in this area is more of a marsh.
These white plinths replaced trees that were destroyed in recent floods. I received a message from our exchange family with more information.
The four white bases as you walked down to the Temple Greenhouse originally were plinths for statues depicting the four seasons. These mysteriously disappeared during the Hare Krishna years!
One of the many magnificent trees beside the path.
Plenty of shade and very few other people. Later in the day I asked the person who was selling tickets how many she had sold. She reckoned about 400 but on busy weekends in summer there would be over 4000.
Maybe the windows qualify this as a greenhouse. Now they just sell ice-creams in summer.
I relaxed in the chair looking across the marsh to the house. Life is good.
Quite a number of people were walking their dogs and there were bowls of water all over the place.
The man made river that leads from the lake to the house.
The lake came into view.
A monument to Capability Brown who apparently got on very well with George Coventry (the 6th Earl) who commissioned Capability to build the house and gardens.
Unfortunately, the inscription is difficult to read.
To the memory of
who by the power
of his inimitable and
creative genius formed
this garden scene
out of a morass
Some of the trees are immense. This is a Lebanon Cedar.
Inside the grotto.
A statue named Sabrina.
Every now and then, the house comes into view.
Bridge to a small island in the lake.
Another bridge leading off the island.
It is just so peaceful. However you can hear the roar of cars and trucks on the M5 Motorway which is a few miles away.
Two enormous plane trees.
Eventually we left the lake and followed the bank of the river towards the house.
Zoom photo of the church on the hill in the distance.
The Chinese Bridge.
We walked across the bridge.
The river appears to continue into the distance but it comes to an end around the bend.
And it was now after 11 am and so we could now visit the house which you can read about in the next blog entry.
Just before we reached the grotto we met a couple of woman who were guides to the ground who were taking a break. They said that ten years ago, the gardens were neglected and overgrown as the various owners since the Coventry family had not maintained them. The National Trust restored them and what a result. Absolutely the epitome of what became the 'English Garden' style.