Forde Abbey and Gardens
One of the greatest Gardens in the West Country
Wandering round the 30 acres in perfect weather was the highlight of our holiday. The Abbey was founded by Cistercian monks over 800 year ago and was one of the richest and most learned monasteries in the country. After the dissolution it was empty for 100 years and then was transformed into a magnificent house which has been maintained by the Roper family.
The Great Pond - which was originally the head pond for a watermill, feeds a series of cascades down the hill to the three smaller ponds. On the edge of the Great Pond is the Beech House made in the1930’s to provide a bird watching hide.
In the second largest pond the Mermaid pond, the family installed the Centenary Fountain in 2005 (160’) to commemorate a 100 years of their ownership.
The original Victorian kitchen garden is now used as a nursery to provide plants for sale to visitors.
After lunch I left MTL soaking up the sun and did a lightening tour of the house, which wasn’t easy as the guides are eager to impart information. I was itching to get out into the heavenly gardens and photos were not allowed in the house. I enjoyed all the rooms and remember particularly a portrait of a strange looking woman who had just ‘left the asylum.’ And there was a most beautiful plant- lined corridor with sunlight streaming in where I was sorely tempted to break the rules.
.I despaired of ever getting these photos posted: it wouldn’t post with labels or without and after about the fifth time of trying I gave up and then saw posting was taking place.
The fourth photo down is Blacksmith Hill with the statue of the Blacksmith. He is supposedly throwing a stone towards Winsham, the local village further up the hill.
The fifth photo down is the tear- drop- shaped Mermaid pond. It once was the home of a mini replica of the Mermaid that sits at the entrance to
harbour. However ‘she did not sit well in the pond’ so
Mrs Roper replaced her with ’Leda and the Swan’ by Enzo Platzotta. Copenhagen
I think Alan Titchmarsh got it right