With 60 acres of bursting colour, forest trees and rolling lawns, it is no surprise that Hodnet Hall Gardens has won the Historic Houses Association Christie’s Gardens of the Year Award 2017. It is also famous for its collection of daffodils which are at their best in April.
Hodnet village is north-east of Shrewsbury and is easily accessible from the A49 to Newcastle-under-Lyme and the A442 to Whitchurch. It was originally owned by the Heber family and the English cleric Robert Hebert who received the manor and the estate in 1752, but it dates back to the Domesday Book. When he died in 1766 his brother Reginald took over. Although the house not open to the public, you can still admire the exterior neo-Elizabethan architecture. The gardens were created in 1922 by Brigadier A. G. W. Heber-Percy and in 1923 he added the Main Pool by digging a dam and then three other pools. Three became seven during the 1930s when he also cut down some trees to clear a view of the 1656 Grade II Pigeon House made of brick and stone.
Whilst moseying around in the spring, you can spot all kinds of flowers - azaleas, camellias berberis and osmanthus are sprouting all over the grounds. When summer comes it brings plenty of colour with it as traditional English plants such as aburnum, pieris, philadelphus, davida and peonies take centre stage. July creates a refreshing contrast with more exotic plants such as tall yuccas, fern and bamboos. You can even enjoy the gardens in September, when acer, birchus and cotoneaster make up a warm autumnal display.
The Main Pool, which is the eastern part of the Hodnet’s seven pools chain, is one of the garden’s most outstanding features as it is complete with lily pads, views of the house and is surrounded by plants, shrubs and trees. The Broad Walk terrace is one of the best ways to appreciate the splendid view of the pools of the gardens, Long Mynd and the distant Shropshire Hills. There is also a shrubbery and a circular rose garden just downhill from the Broad Walk where you can see an original 1920s statue of Old Father Time. A Grade II listed Tithe Barn is tucked away there as well, dating all the way back to 1619.
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