Tag: National Trust

Colby Woodland Gardens, Pembrokeshire

After walking what felt like all the miles while we were in Pembrokeshire, I wanted our last morning to be a little more gentle and it seemed like the weather agreed (drizzle… again!) For years I’ve been driving past the sign for Colby Woodland Gardens but I’d never been so after a quick walk around Carew Castle and a spot of geocaching, Poppy and I headed for Colby.

Colby obelisk Colby woodland garden Poppy at the Cobly obelisikI didn’t realise that the woodland garden was a National Trust property. Admission is £6.50, but while dogs are allowed almost everywhere, they aren’t allowed int he admissions office, which was tricky as I was on my own and never want to tie Poppy up and leave her outside (because, obviously, the second my back is turned, someone will steal her!) When I went into the admissions office, the lady asked if I was a member, which I wasn’t, and she asked if I wanted to join, but I said that it would take too long and I didn’t want to leave Poppy outside on her own for too long (There were some shifty looking pensioners out there!) The lady offered to come outside and organise the membership, which I thought was really lovely, as I had been meaning to join for some time (Wish I’d joined before parking at Bosherston Lily Ponds – £5!). So I joined the National Trust and got a ton of maps etc, then we headed into the gardens.

tree of coins at colby woodland garden The valley at Colby woodland garden Colby lodgeWe headed up to the left of the valley, to find the obelisk. You can walk down to Amroth beach from the gardens, which I would love to do next time. Dogs have to be kept on leads everywhere but they can’t go into the walled gardens. Poppy really enjoyed exploring the valley, as there are a few ponds and lots of things to smell, apparently. While Poppy is still nervous of the sea, she is super confident in shallow, clear water and now seeks it out!

Poppydog at Colby Woodland Garden Amroth beach from Colby bracket fungus Pamela Chance memorialOn the other side of the valley, the walks get steeper, and there are loads of different walks around this side. One shows great views to Amroth beach and there are lots of different aspects of nature to see. We spotted a jay, some bracket fungus and an owl pellet, which Poppy ate. Nice huh?! It’s a lovely place to visit and I’ll definitely be going back there, especially in a different season, where the tress are changing. There are tea rooms there too, which I didn’t visit this time so naturally I need to go back for that!

Bank Holiday at Stowe Gardens

After many weeks of being busy with school work and sorting out the redecorating of our bedroom, we were finally able to leave all of that behind and head out into the spring sunshine for a much needed breath of fresh air. We decided to head back to Stowe Gardens, as we really enjoyed our last visit there but wanted to see it in spring.  We packed our bag, forgetting much needed binoculars and camera, and headed off towards Stowe Gardens.

We arrived early, while there was still a chill in the air but that soon disappeared. It was fairly quiet, though busy enough for Poppy to enjoy a few rubs from other people. You could hear the sheep and their little lambs bleating away in the sunshine. They were so cute!

Sheep at Stowe GardensThe gardens were really gorgeous in the spring sunshine. Everything looked so bright and fresh, what a change from the misery of winter!

Spring at Stowe Gardens Stowe Gardens in the sun Memorial at Stowe GardensPrimroses at Stowe GardensThe gardens were packed by the time we were coming to the end of our walk. We tried to head in directions and along paths we didn’t go down last time. It was so busy that we couldn’t get into the cafe for lunch as they were queueing out the door! Next time, I think we’ll pack a picnic, as there are so many great areas to sit and watch the world go by.

We did over 10,000 steps and were thoroughly pooped by the time we got home. It’s a great place to go for walks, as you can do as much or as little as you like. I like it because while you’re looking around at the flowers, the buildings and statues and the wildlife,you don’t really notice the length of the walk. It was the perfect way to relax over the bank holiday weekend.

Dog Walks in Buckinghamshire – Stowe Gardens

My sister and her partner visited us last weekend with their very energetic puppy, Jasper. We knew we needed somewhere good to go to walk the dogs so we decided on Stowe Gardens. It’s about a 40 minute drive from us, but it’s fairly straight forward. We’d not been before, but after a lovely time there, it’s definitely somewhere where I’ll be going back to.

The gardens are the grounds of Stowe House and Stowe School and are like nothing I’ve ever seen before. There are a number of amazing and beautiful buildings, temples and statues, all linked to Greek mythology or politics. There’s even a cave and a grotto! While there are three mapped walks you can do, by following the path of vice, virtue or liberty, you can ramble about on your own as much as you like. You could easily pack a picnic and spend the day there.

Eleven acre lake Rotunda at Stowe Gardens Statue of Venus Temple of VenusDido's caveQueen's temple at Stowe Gardens Stowe House Temple of Ancient VirtuePoppy at the temple of friendship Stowe Garden sheepThe Grotto at Stowe GardensInside the grotto at Stowe Gardens

We headed along the path of vice when we arrived at the gardens and followed it round until we got to Dido’s Cave. Then we headed up to Stowe House, which was closed, but still incredibly impressive from the outside. We then picked up the path of virtue and headed to the Grotto, which was incredible! I can’t imagine what it must have been like for the gardens to be your garden. Can you imagine playing in the grotto as a child?! Amazing! We then headed to the gothic temple, via the queen’s temple and picked up the path of liberty from there. We headed back to the New Inn for lunch, where Phil and I had the leek and potato soup and Diana and Adam had the risotto. They were okay, not massive portions, but that left room for cake later!

Leek and potato soup

Both the dogs loved the walk we did. They were very tired by the time we got home! Dogs must be kept on the lead, as there are grazing sheep in the gardens, and there are lots of dog poo bins around the gardens, which is always helpful! We didn’t go into the shop, but according the Stowe Gardens website, they have dog treats and dog ice cream available! This is brilliant, as not all National Trust properties are as dog friendly as Stowe Gardens. We all thought that the £11 entry fee (with gift aid) was a little steep, but if you spent the day there, you’d probably consider it money well spent. However, it only costs £99 to become a member (for two people) so it wouldn’t take long for you to cover the cost of membership. This is something I’m thinking of doing, as it means you can also park for free in National Trust properties too.

The Walk: There are three different walks you can do, but you can mix them up and do as much or as little as you like.
Cost: As it’s run by the National Trust, it’s not free. It’s £11 for adults for the gardens if you’re not a member of the National Trust.
Car Park: There’s quite a decent car park at the gardens, but you have to pay £2 if you’re a non-member. It’s free for National Trust members.
Refreshments: There is a lovely little cafe, which has seating outdoors with an undercover section where dogs are welcome.
Toilets: There are toilets at the New Inn, which is the entrance to the gardens.

Ham House

Ham House Collage

You may have read in one of my previous posts, Petersham Nurseries, that my OH treated me to a day in Richmond, London. While there, as the weather was so lovely we had a bit of a walk around. Thanks to the power of Google we soon discovered that we were near Ham House. I love looking at old things. It’s the next best thing to buying old things!

Ham House CollageHad it not been so expensive (over £10* each) we’d have spent ages mooching round the house. However, we opted for the garden only. It was a lovely day so were happy to do that. It was amazing. Even from the outside the house was beautiful. I always like to imagine what it would be like to live somewhere like this & am always convinced it would be super cool! There were some amazing little huts in the garden which made me instantly jealous & demand that we have one in our (tiny) garden! The main gardens were for vegetable planting. This is something I’ve never really done but am desperate to do once we regain some kind of control over the garden. They had some lovely blossoms on the trees & some gorgeous & unusual flowers in the borders too. It was worth the £7 to get in, have a sandwich and get some ideas for the garden. A lovely little place & well worth the visit if you’re in the area.

Hungry HorseAfter Ham House, heading back to the car, we walked along the Thames. We spotted this cute little chap who was linked to the polo club near by. Naturally we stopped to say hello, pet his nose & offer up any minty treats (which we didn’t have!). He wasn’t interested in us at all. He was interested in eating my handbag, which after the encounter was covered in green horse saliva. Nice!

Ice Cream RewardMy reward for being brave & not freaking out about a horse trying to eat my bag was my first 99 ice cream of the summer. I loved it – Sat by the Thames, watching cute little dogs running around, eating ice cream with a flake after such a lovely day. A fantastic location with lots of lovely things to see, do & eat. Perfect!

*We’ve thought since that maybe a National Trust membership might be the better way to go about seeing places like Ham House, though I instantly remember my Grandad being a member & it makes me chuckle! Might add a membership to my birthday list tho.