North Yorkshire

Jo’s Monday walk : Hovingham

There’s no two ways about it!  England has some of the finest villages you could hope to find, and Hovingham, in North Yorkshire, is a prime example.  In summertime it’s the perfect place to amble past old stone cottages, festooned with fabulous hollyhocks, to peer over the church wall.

In reality it was one of those days when summer is reluctant to parade itself for our pleasure, but I was still hopeful.  We had passed through the village, on the Helmsley to Malton road, in search of Yorkshire Lavender.  No amount of grey sky could dim that glory!  Returning the same way, it seemed churlish not to stop the car and explore a little.  Keep me company?

Beside the village green, the unusual Grade II listed school draws the eye.  Ivy swaddles many of the buildings and colour cascades, at curb and much higher, to combat the grey.  Locally grown tomatoes advertise their presence alongside fresh eggs.  A breakfast here must be a total pleasure. I wonder what the gents at the cafe had.

Set back behind the main road stands magnificent Hovingham Hall.  This Grade 1 listed Palladian style mansion was designed and built by Thomas Worsley between 1750 and 1770. The house is only opened to the public between 1st and 28th June each year, and I was sorry to have missed it. Entrance is unique in being through the former riding school, where George III was taught to ride.  In front of the house, the oldest privately owned cricket pitch in England.  I snuck as close as I dared for a look.

Over the garden wall I could see the Saxon tower of the parish church, All Saints.  The name Hovingham has an interesting derivation, combining a ‘place of graves’ with a settlement in a ‘meadow near a river’.  No sign of the river, but I could see some graves.

I was pleased to find that the church door was unlocked.  Quiet reverence inside, an unusual font and beautifully carved organ pipes, lots of kneelers and some exquisite stained glass.  Was there a significance to the dragon?

Crossing back towards the village green, my eyes lit up at the sight of a rocking horse, waiting impatiently at the window for its owner to return.

In a corner of the green, another church, very different in character.  Methodist, with a ‘welcome’ sign on the door, I couldn’t spurn the invitation.

This village is full of surprises.  Quite suddenly I came upon a ford, crossing Marr’s Beck and leading to the elusive River Rye.  A neat little cafe and bakery sits alongside.  The locals, undetered that it was closed, had brought a picnic to their favoured spot.

As if in celebration, just then the sun contrived to make an appearance, transforming the old stone and setting the hollyhocks nodding.

Isn’t England bonny in the Summer?  I walked the length of the beck, beside the cottages and back to the main street.

How better to finish than with a bee, rolling in ecstasy?  I hope you enjoyed our wander today.

It was touch and go this week, a router problem knocking the Internet out for countless hours, but I made it!  Many thanks to all of you who’ve stuck with me.  I had to get the job done so I could showcase these walks, didn’t I?  Please take the time to visit them, if you possibly can. Pop the kettle on first?  And do join in if you have a walk to share.  The details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.

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First up is Violet, with another attractive bridge for us to cross :

A bridge to cross

Then a hodge podge of food and stuff from Jackie :

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I rather think Lady Lee had a good weekend!

Happy Sunday

Want to hear a ghost story?  Then Drake’s your man!

In the middle of the history

Kathrin has her own version of scaling the Hollywood heights :

Hike to the Hollywood sign

While Ann Christine likes to take it more gently :

A Walk at Lindo – In the Best Company

And our Meg is wordless, but inimitable :

Wordless walk: Hervey Bay Botanical Gardens

Where’s Woolly this week?  He’s found a very large hole :

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We finish with something rather unusual, recommended to me by Sheri, a keen walker herself :

Letterbox Walks

Well, not quite finish, because I have to include Carol’s latest.  Not totally a walk, but you may recognise someone :

Meeting James and Jo

I’m in two minds about next Monday because I shall be traveling to Shropshire (and hopefully meeting up with someone else you know).  I do have another walk I’m desperate to share though.  I’ll keep you posted.  Have a great week!

Jo’s Monday walk : Mallyan Spout revisited

The village of Goathland, in North Yorkshire, has any number of attractions, just one of which is the waterfall, Mallyan Spout.  At the bottom of a ravine, with a 70 foot drop, in full spate it is a beautiful sight.

The start point of my walk is beside the hotel of the same name, highly rated on Trip Advisor, for those of you who pay attention to such things.  I pass through the gate adjoining the coffee shop with scarcely a glance, eager to set eyes on the waterfall.  Almost immediately the path starts to drop downwards, and down some more, and then down again.  I’m not even thinking about the inevitable climb back up when my eyes alight on a perfect cluster of palest pink, wild orchids.

I listen hard for the telltale chuckle of water as I descend still further.  Finally I can hear it and, a few moments later, there it is.

Now I can’t pretend to anybody that this is an easy walk but, in not too damp conditions, it is perfectly possible to negotiate the stepped path down to the waterfall.  Turning left at the bottom, you need only follow the beck for a matter of yards to be within sight and sound.  It’s up to you how close you want to go.  To get a good look, a bit of scrambling over rocks will be needed, but there were families with quite young children making the trip.  Watch out for the ‘coin’ trees, shown above, set deep into the rocks.

How can you not love being in this leafy dell?  When you have gazed your fill, you have a choice to make.  You can retrace your steps to the bottom of the path that led downwards, and then continue to the right, alongside the beck.  This will take you on a 3 mile circular walk, via Beck Hole, as detailed in the link at the start.  Or you can be a bit more adventurous.

The walk I was following crosses the waterfall and continues along a ‘sometimes difficult’ footpath, and over two footbridges, according to my guidebook.  Sound challenging?  It only had a medium level of difficulty.  I thought that passing the waterfall might prove tricky, but the rocks weren’t too slippy and with the help of a steadying hand I managed it.  Balance is not my strong point.

There was a sense that the valley bottom had shifted, leaving behind the pedestal on which the first footbridge rested.  The second had a gentle curve, the pedestal still loosely attached.  Tree roots and boulders didn’t make for an easy walk, but it was the dampness underfoot that was my undoing.  Just beyond the footbridges a sign pointed upwards to Goathland, half a mile away, up a stepped incline.  It didn’t seem too bad an idea to me, but my companion was scathing.  Half a mile?  That’s not a walk!

A further sign, pointing out that erosion had affected the footpath ahead, did nothing to reassure.  A deep breath and on we went, slithering a bit in muddy patches and clambering around rocks and endless tree roots.  I was grateful for any handhold I could get and clung fiercely to ferns, roots, boulders, anything that would give me purchase.  Inevitably it happened. Stepping forward onto ‘firm’ ground, suddenly my foot had slid from beneath me and I dangled over the edge, in a less than comfortable version of the sideways splits.

I hauled myself up, with a little help, and stood there shaking for a minute or two.  The way back was just as fraught as the way ahead might be.  We looked at each other, recognising the folly of our situation.  As I limped forward, I was astounded to hear the sound of voices behind us.  Another foolhardy couple had disregarded the warning.  How reassuring, their presence. We exchanged a few words together, and then we carried on, leaving them resting beside the water.

The way ahead was no easier, sometimes promising to climb back out of the valley, only to drop you back down to the water’s edge.  I decided that the other couple must have turned back as there was no further sight nor sound of them.  My legs were growing weary when finally we stepped out of the undergrowth, and onto a narrow road.  An old stone bridge spanned the stream and we slumped against it.  A few minutes later, who should emerge from the woods but our couple, grinning triumphantly.

I have few photos of that latter part of the walk.  I was too busy hanging on, and hoping.  We stood chatting companionably to our fellow walkers for quite some time, relief in our laughter. They were from Dorset, on a first visit to Yorkshire, and traveling in a campervan.  We discussed good places to visit, and consulted each of our maps before agreeing to take slightly different routes back to Goathland.  Theirs appeared longer and we joked that whoever was back first should buy the beers.

Our route climbed gently through a forest of ferns, until at last we crested the hill.  Just the faintest hint of sunshine lit the rolling expanse ahead. Still we had to toil upwards, and upwards some more, but it no longer mattered.  We were free of the canyon.

Up above the woods it looked a long way down to the valley floor.  At the top of the stepped incline we had chosen not to climb, there was a map.  If you look closely you will see that there are two paths marked.  The one we followed, beside the beck, and an alternative ‘permissive’ path, a little higher up.  With hindsight….

Almost back to the village, something a little unusual caught our eye, through a gap in the stone wall.  Can you see what they are?

Alpaca!  I was prepared for moorland sheep, but this was a bit of a surprise.  The sheep were busy munching, and kept themselves to themselves.

Arriving at the long village green, we spotted, far ahead of us, our couple who had taken the ‘longer’ route.  No hurry to catch them up.  St. Mary’s Church was open, inviting a quick look inside.  Simple, but beautiful.  The stained glass, beacons of light.

I was wrong, of course.  There was a hurry!  We arrived at the pub at 2.40pm, only to find that they stopped serving food at 2.30pm.  The menu, tantalising, but out of bounds.  If you’re thinking that this walk was a disaster, start to finish, well, I might be tempted to agree with you. But that wouldn’t be true.  It was taxing, no doubt, but it gave me a perspective that I wouldn’t otherwise have enjoyed.

You know, from the title of this post, that I’ve been here a time or two before.  For a look at Goathland itself, and details of the Rail Trail, take a look back at Steam’s up in North Yorkshire. I think I’ve earned a week off now, don’t you?

I’m away to the Algarve on Thursday, so that gives me plenty of time to catch up with everybody before I go.  I won’t be posting a walk next Monday, because I don’t have Wifi in Tavira.  I suspect it will be too warm to think about walking far.  I’ll be back the following week, though, and more than happy to have your company.  Details, as always, on my Jo’s Monday walk page. Many thanks to all of you who follow along so loyally, and to my lovely contributors, who make this all possible.  And now, enough of me- let’s put the kettle on!

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We start with sunny September memories from Jude.  A swathe of beauty, fit for a queen :

Garden Portrait : Glamis Castle Walled Garden

And a walk to improve your photographic skills, with lovely Debbie :

A walk around quirky Bordeaux

Swirling mists in the Pyrenees, accompany Drake :

Like an upstair jungle

What mischief is Jackie up to, back in Toronto?

Hot Plate

Lady Lee makes Malta look irresistible again!

Our Malta experience 2

More beautiful memories from Becky!  She knows all too well that I love this place :

An evening stroll in Mertola

Agness hails originally from Poland, but she likes to keep on the move!

Mapping Melbourne- a Walking Tour around the City Sights

Cheryl conquers her fear of heights for some magnificent views.  Braver than me!

Hiking Inwangsan in Summer

And Woolly?  He’s lingering with the war graves :

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I couldn’t choose a better traveling companion than Gilly.  Let her show you her home turf :

Views of Dartmouth

And for a jaunty Irish stroll, wouldn’t you just like to be beside Ann Christine?

Early Morning Kilkenny 

Let’s finish with another garden.  A classic beauty from Cady Luck Leedy :

Jo’s Monday walk : A Visit to Sissinghurst

That’s it for a little while.  Enjoy Summer, if you’re here in the UK.  I’ll be eating strawberries and trying to keep up with Wimbledon.  Take good care, all of you!  I’ll try to bring back some cake.

 

Six word Saturday

It’s that time of year again!

Very cute, our seahorse, isn’t he?  Yet again the good folks of Saltburn by the Sea have decorated their pier with yarn bombing.  It’s a Summer tradition.  Are they in good Order?  I think I should let you be the judge of that.

There are some wild hairdo’s, aren’t there?  You can probably tell that there was a fresh breeze that day, but still lots of people.

Let’s end with a bit of a gallop, down by the sea.  Such skilled handiwork, as well as being completely adorable.

That’s it for another year.  The next day it simply poured, and has continued to do so.  The shopaholics amongst you will adore Debbie’s Six Word Saturday this week.  Me, I just want to go to Madrid!  Wishing you a happy weekend!

Focus on Fountain’s Abbey

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I very often lack focus and tend to meander through my life.  Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, in Yorkshire, were a case in point.  Looking for somewhere to admire snowdrops, I ventured there last week.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Swathes of them nestled beneath the trees.  I captured one or two shots, but I was soon drawn into the magnificence of the water gardens.

It was a gloomy old day and I stopped to read the cheerful sign inside the fishing tabernacles. They are part of the balustrade and cascade into the lake and date back to 1719.  Probably designed as a base for fishing excursions, they cleverly concealed the sluices used to drain the canal quickly in time of flooding.

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The water gardens must be one of the finest sights in England, and neither I nor the swans allowed ourselves to be depressed by the weather, while the pheasants seemed positively immune.  Not well focused though!

It wasn’t long before I was ambling among the ruins of the Abbey, smitten by the hues in the aged stones.  Snowdrops there were aplenty but I’m afraid that they played second fiddle.

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Fountains Abbey, 3 miles south west of Ripon in North Yorkshire, is one of the largest and best preserved Cistercian monasteries in England. Founded in 1132, it had an active life until 1539, when Henry VIII ordered the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

A full history can be found here.  Today the Abbey and Water Gardens are successfully managed by the National Trust and they have some delightfully focused snowdrops on their site.

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Paula focused on black and white photography in her Traces of the Past on Sunday.  It’s not my forte, so I’m compromising.  But I would love to draw your attention to her very beautiful Focus in Thursday’s Special.

Jo’s Monday walk : Flamboyant Autumn at Easby Abbey

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Today’s walk is the reverse of one I took you on a couple of years ago.  Remember the story of the little Drummer Boy?  It really hadn’t been my intention to walk to Easby Abbey, but as the sun burst forth over the Autumn foliage I couldn’t imagine a finer place to be.  Such a contrast with the creeping mist that enshrouded me last time.

This walk starts from The Station at Richmond, now a fine exhibition space with a rather nice eatery, ‘Seasons’.  Have I been neglecting your stomachs lately?  I know there has been a dearth of cream scones on here, but maybe you can make up for it later.  Incentive to get you walking! From the rear of The Station a trail signed for Easby Abbey leads off into the woods.

The gurgle of water accompanies your footsteps, as you are walking above the fast flowing River Swale.  Glimpses of it flaunt themselves through gaps in the trees, along with the wider view to the countryside beyond.  Soon you come to a bridge.  This morning it is rhymed with frost so tread a little carefully.  Recent rain has ensured the boisterous nature of the water.

Once over the bridge the trail bends to the left and you are following the river more closely.  My heart always goes pitter pat at the sight and sound of rushing water.  Autumn finery weaves it’s own spell.

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Bathed in sunlight, you can make out a grand looking residence through the trees, and soon you are in sight of the Abbey.  The gatehouse stands silently, beyond a field where grazing horses sport their winter garb.  The woolly sheep don’t seem to feel the same need.

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Pastoral England at it’s finest, isn’t it?  Let’s slip through the metal gate into the churchyard.  The hamlet of Easby dates back to the Domesday survey of 1086, and the parish church of St. Agatha predates the Abbey.  It also provides a wonderful vantage point over the Abbey ruins.

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Easby Abbey was founded in about 1152, by Roald, a constable of Richmond in North Yorkshire.  It was established as a Premonstratension monastery, whose origin came from Premontre in France.  Most monks follow the 6th century Rule of St. Benedict, renouncing the world for a life of contemplation.  The Easby monks followed the older rule of St. Augustine, meaning they served the community by preaching, teaching and charitable work, and could become parish priests.  They lived communally but did not take monastic vows.  They were ordained as canons (or priests), with the authority to celebrate mass and administer sacraments.

From the earliest times, sheep farming seems to have been a mainstay of Abbey life.  Roald’s descendants continued to hold the constableship of Richmond and its lands throughout the 12th and 13th centuries.  They were variously known as de Burton or de Richmond.  By the 14th century the estates had been sold to the Scrope family, knights based at Bolton in neighbouring Wensleydale.  The Scropes made Easby their burial place and the chancel of the Abbey church was lengthened.  Prosperity seems to have continued until the suppression of the monasteries in 1536. Richmond defended its monks, but in retribution Henry VIII wrote that “St. Agatha and such other places as have made resistance… shall without pity or circumstance… be tied up (hanged) without further delay”.  Destruction followed, but the remaining ruins are hauntingly beautiful.

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Turning up the lane, another grandiloquent property looks down on you.  I imagine much doffing of caps went on at St. Agatha’s House.

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The field drops down towards the river again, and this time I find I can get really close.  Leaf strewn steps lead down almost to the water’s edge and I am awash in Autumn’s tumultuous hues.  Knotty tree roots protrude and I have to mind my step, but it’s like being in an enchanted forest.

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Always before I have taken the higher route.  My reward, a glimpse of a modern day Hansel and Gretel cottage, nestled in the woods.

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The path meets the higher route at the Drummer Boy stone, and soon you can see distant Richmond Castle through the trees.  Water trickles and drips down the mossy stone.  It feels almost primeval.

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Back at The Station, pause for refreshments, or carry on, as I do.  I can never resist the lure of the falls, and there’s a bonus.  Look who I found!

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The tumult of the falls is breathtaking.  As I walk back towards The Station, another little guy is watching me from the safety of a branch.

I hope you enjoyed sharing these last moments of Autumn.  English Heritage provide a comprehensive history of the Abbey on their website, plus details of how to get there.  I’d rather like to share this walk with Jude too. Her November theme for the Garden Challenge is Trees, and I think I’ve managed to find one or two.  Let’s put the kettle on and settle in for a read now, shall we?

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Huge thanks to all of you for the support I receive on here.  Yet again I have a wonderful selection of walks to share. Please visit as many as you can. And if you happen to have a walk you’d like to share, well, what are you waiting for? Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page, or you can click on the logo above.

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I have so many Gaudi favourites!  How about you?  Lady Lee showcases this one beautifully :

Casa Batllo 

Woolly’s strolling from the shopping centre this week :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk- Barwon Heads

Jude tries her hand at landscapes in Constable country, and makes a lovely job of it :

Walking in an artist’s footsteps

Kingston, Jamaica it’s not, but Stephanie makes her current home look very appealing :

A Walk through Downtown Kingston, WA

Jackie, meanwhile, is on the trail of more history in Virginia :

October 2016- Williamsburg, VA

While Liesbet explores California, with a very cute canine friend :

Sunny Sacramento

Yvette is never shy about sharing her views, but she shares a lot of love too :

Our Lady of Victory Basilica Lackawanna, NY

Another of those dreams I haven’t yet made come true.  Thanks, BiTi!

Big Sur

Much more intimate, but no less delightful, Drake’s childhood home :

Big, big small world

Stamina or coffee!  Which do I need to walk in Badfish’s footsteps?  Don’t miss it!

One long road to Bratislava : Part II

I’m considering myself invited to the south coast so I can do this walk with Gilly.  Any offers?

A South West Coast Path Walk

And finally, anyone up for a little skateboarding?  Or you can just stroll, with Kathrin :

Skateboarding in Huntingdon Beach

Fantastic, aren’t they?  That’s it for Autumn posts from me.  Not sure where I’ll take you next week, but I hope you can come along.  In the meantime, have a great week, and to all my US friends, Happy Thanksgiving!

Peering through Yorkshire village windows

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What a nice gesture!  The village hall in Boltby, North Yorkshire, is left on the latch.  There are no amenities in this lovely village so, if you’re passing by and need to use the loo, you can pop in.  There’s a kitchen too, and you’re welcome to put the kettle on.  If only I’d thought to bring some cake!

Boltby is on the western edge of the North York Moors, and I was there to follow Gurtof Beck in the direction of Gormire Lake.  There’s a wonderful humpbacked stone bridge for pedestrians at the centre of the village, and right beside it, two mosaics.

They are part of 23 such markers on the  36 mile long Hambleton Hillside Mosaic Walk. Now, don’t worry!  I didn’t undertake the whole distance, and I stopped to admire a few cottages along the way.  And Boltby’s pretty 19th century chapel.

Beyond the village it’s a pleasant rolling landscape, with impressive Whitestone Cliff a distant backdrop.  Sheep gambol in the fields, and overhead, gliders ride the thermals.  I’d love to have their bird’s eye view.

Gormire Lake is accessible only on foot, and was formed after the last Ice Age, when an ice sheet covered the Vale of York.  I’ve previously only seen it from the cliff top, a dark and mysterious green expanse, surrounded by woodland. It’s not a place to go after dusk, for it’s said to be haunted by a knight who plunged from the cliff to his death. He was riding the white mare on whom the famous White Horse of Kilburn is thought to be based.

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I never much like to retrace my steps, and so it was that I found tiny Thirlby.  The village nestles round a ford, always a source of delight to me.  No stepping stones for this one, just a huddle of pretty cottages.  Apparently James Herriot, veterinarian and author, once lived here.  Pear Tree House, home to a master cabinet maker, came as a real surprise.  Bob Hunter uses the symbol of a wren to distinguish his furniture.

Boltby and Thirlby are just a couple of miles apart, and easy walking.  A short drive away, the village of Kilburn was home to another, more famous, craftsman.  Robert Thompson, or Mouseman as he became known, came from a family ‘as poor as church mice’. Astonishingly, he taught himself the craft of carving and joinery.  I’ve long promised myself a visit.

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There are tearooms too, but you really don’t want to see another scone with jam and cream, do you?  Just picture it!

Have you seen Dawn’s A Lingering Look at Windows this month?

 

Scampston Walled Garden

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2016 marks the 300th anniversary of landscape artist Lancelot “Capability” Brown, whose designs changed the face of of 18th century England. Born in Northumberland in 1716, he learnt the skills of horticulture and husbandry from the age of 16, as an apprentice on the Wallington estate.  His vision was extraordinary and over the course of 40 years he moved gardens away from formal design to a style that is unmistakably his.

Brown persuaded the rich and famous to invest in landscapes which were beautiful, productive, and would take a century to mature. He designed on an immense scale, moving hills and making flowing lakes that resembled artificial rivers.  His work frequently produced an Arcadian idyll.  Sadly I have never visited Stowe in Buckinghamshire, his best known work, but he was involved in the design of over 250 sites throughout the UK.

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Scampston Hall in North Yorkshire sits beside the busy A64 road.  Wandering serenely across the estate you might never know.  A lazy sheep or two blink, and turn their backs.  The grounds at Scampston were redesigned by Capability in the 1770’s.  They bear all the hallmarks of his work.  A ‘ha ha’, or sunken fence, to confuse the eye, carefully planted trees and an expansive lake that resembles a river running off into infinity.

Oddly enough, I didn’t come to Scampston in search of the Palladian Bridge, but I think that Paula might like it for her Traces of the past.  The lure of the Walled Garden is the ‘new European garden style’, designed in 1999 by Piet Oudolf.  1999 no longer feels new but I did find enchantment in the drifts of Molinia grass.  Here is a small sample of what you might find.

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There’s much more, of course.  You can do some hedge trimming, or even have a cream tea.

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But you can’t beat Capability and a few Marsh Marigolds, can you?

I’m not sure if Scampston Walled Garden fits with Jude’s Garden Challenge, but I know she’ll like it.  That’s reason enough, isn’t it?