Thursday, 24 April 2014

The Dairy Dell

The Dairy Dell at Endsleigh is a steep sided dingle, where Humphry Repton created his most ingenious designs for the gardens by using the copious water supply available to create an intricate system of water works, made up of a sequence of rills, cascades and small pools which are still in use today.

The Dairy seen through a carpet of bluebells and over the stream was built as a working Dairy for the 6th Duchess of Bedford.  The little thatched building adds a magical quality to the valley and is a good starting point as you walk upward.

Follow the pathway beside the stream at the bottom of the dell which is lined with Gunnera, (Giant Rhubarb), that stand a good 8ft tall in the summer months, lending a Jurassic atmosphere, where glimpsing a dinosaur would not seem unusual. Continue up the Dell, you will see the Crag, a natural outcrop of rock that Repton sought to reveal for picturesque effect.  Below it, is one of the dramatic cascades he devised by diverting water from a leat.  The cascade drops 120 feet to the valley floor and adds to the musical sounds of water on its way to the River Tamar. The pathways lead to beautiful bridges made from Rhododendron branches that crisscross the stream, taking you through Bamboo walks and the Acers which were bought back from China a hundread years ago. The fresh new leaves take your breath away with their lime and plumb colours and differing leaf forms.

The weather has been kind for a few weeks now and I could not recommend a visit to our gardens more, it is a secret horticultural haven that made Alan Titchmarsh recently comment, "If ever a hotel were built in paradise it would be like Endsleigh - a fairytale cottage set in an Arcadian landscape with delicious food and blissful rooms.  I love it and envy that sublime landscape - the perfect opportunity to step back in time to a graceful age.''

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