Adventures in Boots by Helen Reeley
Rousham House & Gardens in Oxfordshire is the home of the Cottrell Dormer family built by Charles Bridgeman in the 1700’s & further enhanced by William Kent later on that century. Kent created a masterpiece in an Augustan style with ponds, terraces & statues to recall the scenes of ancient Rome. There are dying gladiators, pretty follies & a grotto set in the natural landscape with the River Cherwell meandering through the vale. One of my favourite parts is the modern steel rill which runs from a small trickling pool into a larger pond. On a warm day it’s possible to bathe one’s feet.
The walled gardens closer to the house are home to quite a large well kept fruit & vegetable garden & a parterre garden with herbs & roses. An ancient dovecote still has a handful of pigeons nesting in it. The green house/conservatory garden is in very good order; the tulips had just gone over but were gracefully doing their decaying bit with scattered petals at the foot of the elevated pots. It was all rather charming with a Head Gardener’s shed in the corner.
Rousham Park is also home to a pedigree herd of Long Horn Cattle apparently one of the best rare breed herds in the country, according to a chap I got talking too. They were quite docile creatures but I was glad of the wire between them & me as they were ginormous!
All in all, the gardens make for a delightful jaunt out for several reasons, the main one being it’s not frequented by families. No children under the age of 15 are allowed (hooray!) and there is no tea room either (double hooray!!) but you’re welcome to take your own picnic. I’d say the grounds are not for the infirm either-there are some solid paths but lots of steps too & parts of the garden are on steep inclines. There is loo & entrance is £5 which represent terrific value if like me you cherish the rare peace & quiet in our very busy south east of England. But, please don’t tell everyone, let’s keep this local-ish gem to ourselves shall we?
TTFN Helen 0770 643313