Sunday, May 10, 2015

Garden surprise

It's amazing how places can still surprise you, even after you've lived there for years.  We've been in Windermere full time for three years now, part time longer than that, yet there are still hidden corners to be discovered.

Yesterday, thanks to the NGS 'gardens open for charity' scheme, we found a gem only a few hundred yards up the road: Gatesbield.  This is an arts and crafts house dating from the 1920s, built by a local furniture maker and his wife, and bequeathed by them to a Quaker housing trust for the eldery and infirm.

Normally this is private land, unless you're a visitor or a Quaker attending the weekly service.  But yesterday we had carte blanche to wander the grounds, investigate nooks and crannies and even go in the house.  The gardens aren't huge, but are very pretty with outcrops of natural rock, dells, rockeries, trees, and a nice 'wild' feel in spite of the clustering neighbouring properties.  The house is fascinating: a real Arts & Crafts throwback, surprisingly old-fashioned for 1926, but filled with carved wooden doors, roof beams, carved wooden lintels over the windows, and some examples of the furniture made by hand by Stanley Davies, the original owner.

We paid £3.50 each to get in (most of which goes to some very deserving charities) and the princely sum of £2.50 each for a cuppa and a slab of delicious home made cake.

It made for a fun 'time out' in an otherwise busy day, and a fascinating dip into a previously unknown slice of the town's history.  There are several other local properties open under NGS later on in the year; now we know how interesting they can be, we'll be trying to fit a few more visits in.

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