Friday 29 November 2013

The Shell House

At the far end of the grass terrace at Hotel Endsleigh sits a charming hexagonal building that was designed by Wyatville as a summer house to display geological specimens and shells. It is perched on sloping ground with a view of the river below.
It is photogenic from all angles!

A small pool is centrally placed on the shell house floor and the flooring both inside and out is decorated with pebbles. What a time-consuming task,

but how lovely!

Thursday 28 November 2013

Hotel Endsleigh

Last Sunday the weather was crisp and cold and the promise of at least some sunshine for the couple of days ahead prompted us to phone Hotel Endsleigh to see if a room might be available for Monday night. We wanted to visit while there were still a few leaves on the trees and enjoy the last gasp of autumn colour.
It was cloudy and dull as we drove across Dartmoor, how disappointing! But just as we arrived, on the dot of two, the sun shone. We put our bags in the bedroom and went straight out to explore the garden, knowing that daylight was short.
The hotel sits in a secluded valley on a rise above the River Tamar. There is no through road and it is wonderfully peaceful.
The  herbaceous border is reputed to be the longest in England.
The rose arbour runs parallel to the border and the yew walk 
and is equally long!

Very careful plans were made for the original creation of the grounds, created by the leading landscape designer of the time, Humphry Repton. (1752-1818.) He produced a book, bound in red, containing text and drawings to show the rounds of his various projects before and after improvement.

Some 'artist's licence' was used in the drawings - hills flattened, rivers re-sited!

There are lovely details to be discovered

and the pleasure of finding gardeners to talk to. They were busy in the parterre laying weed-suppressing membrane under pebbles where there had formerly been bedding plants. Do follow the new gardening blog at hotelendsleigh.
The watercolour below is from the 'Red Book' and shows children sailing their boats in the rill, which is fed at either end by lion head fountains.

We left the formal garden area and walked through the arboretum as the sun was setting.

 It was becoming bitterly cold. In the area of crag and cascade most of the colour had dropped from the trees and carpeted the ground.
We were happy to retreat to the comfort of log fires, comfortable armchairs and the prospect of dinner.

Take a look at Miss Cellany to see some interior photographs.
The following morning we woke to a carpet of frost. I left Himself with the morning paper
 and went out to explore.

It was time to head back for breakfast. When the meal was finished the frost had disappeared along with  any glimpse of sunshine. Blue woodsmoke rose from the chimneys.
Time to go home.