The International Steam Pages

Weston Hall Gardens, 2012

For convenience I have now grouped lifestyle illustrated features by topic:

This page is just one of several describing aspects of our '2012 new life', for earlier and later pages use the West Gloucestershire link above.

Weston-under-Penyard is a small village near Ross- on- Wye with more than its fair share of large houses. Weston Hall was built by Walter Nourse around 1580, it is a magnificent sandstone building which is Grade II* listed. The current owner Pelham Aldrich-Blake's grandparents were among those who hosted an initial 'National Gardens Scheme' opening in 1927 and it was again open on 3rd June 2012, 85 years on. The weather forecast was appalling especially as we would have to cycle the five miles there and back, but a brief glimmer of brightness at midday tempted us out and despite getting rather wet on the way back, it was another great day out.

The only photographic benefit of the gloom was the complete absence of shadows, this is the north face with the Nourse crest over the main entrance,

The west side of the house looks out into a small courtyard garden:

The top view above was taken from a modern folly which also affords a good view of a kitchen garden that appears underused now it no longer has to feed a retinue of servants and farm hands..

This forms part of the large walled garden, stretching down to the main road (just behind the line of trees above). Prominently featured are all sorts of country garden favourites including Yuehong's current choice, Lupins.

In the main grounds beyond, the largest plants are two Cedars of Lebanon almost two hundred years old, in a while they will almost be matched for height by this young monkey puzzle plant:

There were all sorts of shrubs which I am coming to recognise as we have them in smaller versions in our garden too, a larger specimen of a rhododendron we bought in Ross on Wye and a laburnum; ours which we inherited and someone wanted to chop down until she saw it flowering:

Inevitably, there was an awful lot of "I want one like that", some more realistic than others given that we have only 0.2 Acre to play with rather than 6 Acres. The greenhouse will stay on the wish list but a fragrant lilac or two like we had in Jiaojiehe in China may be more than a possibility:

One thing we won't be matching is the ornamental 'lake'; the small boat alone would more than fill our small garden pond:


Back on the bikes, the plant centre at Bromsash was just too inviting a prospect for Yuehong, on the way we passed Bollitree Castle, a 18th century edifice of older origins now owned by Jeremy Clarkson's side kick Richard Hammond. Apparently, with its indoor swimming pool, he paid in excess of GBP 2 million. Very nice, but if I was going to be spending that kind of money, I think I'd dig a bit deeper and buy something more like Weston Hall:

I'm not sure if this is one of his autos, but as this 1950s Ford Popular was last taxed in 2008, it doesn't get out and about much anymore. Apart from the indicator lights, externally it appears to be in almost as delivered condition.

More on the regular visits to Bromsash another time...

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson