Yesterday was an All Horts day trip to the National Trust property Knightshayes Court, which is not far from Tiverton in Devon. To be more accurate “All” didn’t turn up, it was Three Horts and a friend, but no matter, we still had fun. It had after all been cobbled together at short notice, January is a funny month and these factors combined with no one likes me, resulted in a skeleton crew. Knighthayes is a Victorian gothic revival manor house, awarded a Grade 1 listing in 1973, one hundred years after it was completed in 1873. And a handsome sight it is, replete with sculptures of mythic creatures, turrets and lancet windows. Lovely as it looked we weren’t there for the architecture, we were there for the extensive gardens.
Due to the recent deluges some of the paths were closed, but this made little if any difference to our enjoyment (and probably a big difference to our boots!). Our guide was a rather beautiful cat named (by us) Sidney (Sidders to his mates).
He was a charming companion until he rushed off to some important mouse meeting or suchlike.
The Paved Garden imprisons standard-pruned wisteria, yet to transform into spring belles with ball gowns dripping in amethyst, all the same stunning in their gnarled beauty.
The Pool Garden magical with enchanting willow sculptures.
Immaculate topiary and yew hedges, hounds bounding after the fox they will never catch.
The woodland full of the unusual and the dramatic including this orange peel witch hazel.
The formal borders still boasting flowering abuliton and fuchsia.
The walled garden, cornered by fairytale turrets and the possessor of the finest soil this side of Christendom, it was all I could do to stop MM rolling around in it.
All this and still the chat was relentless.
As we drove romantically into the glorious sunset I mulled over our day. We had arrived the moment Knightshayes opened its doors and left as it was closing (we may have been pushed a little). We walked all day with every footstep a joy, every corner a surprise and some heritage red flowered broad beans were purchased. There were three visits to the cafe, several to the lavatory …… sorry, what? too much information? OK. Well, put it this way, we made full use of all the facilities. And we met a very nice man called Lewis.
Thank you to my friends Hero, Mad Mary and Torrington Tina for making this a wonderful day. Here is to the next one!