Picture this. Marwood in Spring…

02 Apr

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

image 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.


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22 responses to “Picture this. Marwood in Spring…

  1. Lanthie

    April 2, 2013 at 21:59

    Stunning photographs!

    • dalecooper57

      April 2, 2013 at 22:19

      I should think so, nearly got frost bite taking them. ;~}

  2. nothingprofound

    April 3, 2013 at 00:49

    That’s a walk my wife and I would love to take, in any weather. Absolutely enchanting and exhilarating. Thanks for the marvelous picture tour.

    • dalecooper57

      April 3, 2013 at 05:27

      It’s a beautiful place. I’ll return I’m the summer and get some more pictures.

  3. melanie jean juneau

    April 3, 2013 at 03:48

    So well done. I love it, We are not quite at that stage in Canada but this tour has me waiting in joyful expectation

  4. iancochrane

    April 3, 2013 at 11:15

    A marvelous visit Dale. Enjoyed our walk immensely.
    There really is something about Spring in cooler climes.
    Cheers, ic

    • dalecooper57

      April 3, 2013 at 12:54

      Fear not, I shall return to photograph the summer blooms also.

  5. Rum Punch Drunk

    April 3, 2013 at 21:00

    I would love to do this walk, everything looks so beautiful I could spend a day or two here. I love the sculptures too especially the one with the woman holding the child in the air.

    • dalecooper57

      April 3, 2013 at 21:43

      You could easily spend the day there, each different perspective bringing new surprises.

  6. melodylowes

    April 4, 2013 at 02:54

    I love that little stone bridge with the water spilling through it. Nice to see signs of spring, when spring has been late in coming in so much of the world….

  7. mOe

    April 4, 2013 at 03:57

    Beautiful photographs

  8. jerseylil

    April 4, 2013 at 05:37

    Dale, what a perfect place for an afternoon walk (great suggestion by Elaine). Wonderful photos, the gardens are beautiful. Especially loved the photo of the swans in motion.

  9. Lanthie

    April 7, 2013 at 17:39

    • dalecooper57

      April 7, 2013 at 18:33

      Wow, thanks a lot Lanthie, I shall put it in my awards cabinet with the others.

  10. Helena Fortissima

    April 17, 2013 at 13:02

    Gorgeous dream-like photos; you took those all with your phone? I especially loved the waterfall pix, the one with the tree in the center, and little island with the statue of a mother raising her child into the air. That’s a beautiful place where you live.

    • dalecooper57

      April 17, 2013 at 13:08

      At the risk of repeating – everything done on my phone.

  11. Johnny

    May 15, 2013 at 13:59

    I love the photo you took of my Swans in perpetual flight as you so elegantly put it. Any spare copies would be much obliged. Pleass send them to the email address below

    • dalecooper57

      May 15, 2013 at 20:50

      Oh that’s wonderful. Thank you so much for getting in touch. I love the sculpture. Of course you shall have copies.
      I’m honoured that an artist would take the time to comment on my humble snaps of something so special.


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