Given the opportunity to go outside on a spring bank holiday Monday in Devon without needing waterproofs, or a raft, it seemed only right that we should brave the biting cold wind, make the most of the weak April sunshine, and go for an early afternoon walk yesterday.
Elaine suggested that we visit Marwood Hill Gardens, just outside Barnstaple.
The gardens cover around 20 acres, and were designed and created by Dr Jimmy Smart in the 1950’s. Since his death in 2002, the running of Marwood has been taken over by his nephew.
Obviously, at this time of year the gardens are looking a little bare, but there are already plenty of signs of life, with daffodils flowering amongst the grass and hellebore in full bloom beneath the tress.
We walked along the zig-zagging path, spotting scatterings of snowdrops and more daffodils as we walked behind Marwood church..
…and down to the bottom of the sheltered valley in which the gardens nestle.
There is plenty of water here, and at first we come to a shimmering weir, the bottom end of a series of lakes and streams that tie this part of the garden together.
Making our way around the perimeter of the lower of the three lakes, once again the church is visible, back the way we came..
There are some sculptures here too. A pair of swans, in perpetual takeoff,
and on the upper lake, on a small island…
The gardens are home to important collections of trees and shrubs, from giant Eucalyptus trees
..to Astilbe, Japanese Iris, and Marwood’s famous Camellia house
And you may even stumble upon a tropical glade..
…or meet a surprise stepping out of the shrubbery.
By now I couldn’t feel my fingers, having stupidly removed my gloves to take photos, so we made our way up to the tearooms near the top of the hill,
Having fortified ourselves with coffee, and cake for Elaine, restored the circulation to my extremities, and admired the view
…it was time to make our way home.
If you want more info, or would like to visit (when it’s a bit warmer, maybe) go here.
There are more photos from Marwood on the Random photos page.