I consider myself very lucky.
Less than 10 minutes to the east from where I live is the Neolithic henge monument of Avebury with its associated prehistoric landscape.
Less than 10 minutes to the west is the Bowood Estate, owned by the Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne. Apart from the beautiful Georgian country house, the gardens were designed primarily by ‘Capability’ Brown.
However, one of the stand-out areas for me are the rhododendron walks. These were laid out by the 3rd Marquis of Lansdowne in the 1850s, but have been extended over the intervening years to cover a site of around 60 acres of rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas that surround the family mausoleum.
One thing I find particularly interesting is that the reason this garden can exist at all, let alone thrive, in Wiltshire is the strip of acidic greensand that runs from the Dorset coast up to the Wash in East Anglia formed by shallow maritime deposits in the late Cretaceous.
The Walks themselves, which include over 30 original hardy hybrid varieties thought to have been extinct, are only open for six weeks a year during the flowering season from late April to early June, and cost £6.75 for an adult. More details here.
I’ve visited a few times, although not for a couple of years now, and am going to share a selection of photos. I’m not going to pretend to be the best photographer – and I have no doubt that there are ‘better’ photos of the plants out there!
I thin a return visit this year might be in order!