18 May 2013

Packwood House, Warwickshire

Another trip to Warwickshire meant another opportunity to visit one of the National Trust properties there.

Last time I went to Baddesley Clinton and Packwood House is just a mile or so further down the country road.

And as last time, I was far more interested in the garden than the house, though the house itself did have a fair dollop of charm.

Next to the house was a large square lawn with border and, alongside that, a tidy sunken garden with pond and classical statue. All very lovely.

Beyond that was the formal part of the garden's largest feature, a promenade of conical hedges.

The brick steps at the end led to a path that spiralled up a small rise offering elevated views back to the house and across the rest of the garden.

In that garden was a large pond (or a small lake) with a path around it and a jetty jutting in to it suggesting that boats once slipped gently across the surface either for leisure or to capture fish.

The house was not tall and it soon disappeared emphasising the natural feel of this part of the garden, though the feeling never went away that this was all carefully designed and built to look natural.

One reason for moving away from the house and garden was to get some views looking back towards them and from the path by the pond/lake the true nature of the hedges was revealed.

They looked fairly orderly when walking on the main route through them but this proved to be an illusion and the hedges were actually a pick-n-mix of shapes and sizes. I heartily approved.

On the other side of the road leading to the house was the Welly Walk. This was designed for children, as the jolly map provided made clear, but I like walking and I do not mind mud so I gave it a go.

It lived up to its name and a pair of Wellington Boots would not have come amiss.

Luckily the National Trust appreciated that not everybody brings their wellies with them and so they build stepping logs through the muddiest parts.

The jolly map made simple for children obviously had a serious design flaw and I missed the main path back to the house and I took a scenic detour through fields of sheep. This may have been part of the Heart of England Walk and some effort, and money, had been spent on signs, gates and new trees.

One of the highlights of the walk was the swathes of Bluebells that crowded round the trees in the quiet areas. The images of these was the more striking for the lack of colour elsewhere.

Packwood House is a modest house with a modest garden, in size terms, and rises above this modesty through the unusual hedges and the mix of formal and informal gardens.

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