10:30am Bloxworth House, Wareham BH20 7EF
By kind permission of Mark and Claire Gearing.
Bloxworth House is a beautiful Grade I Jacobean manor house surrounded by a remarkable garden which is lovingly cared for by its current owners, Mark and Claire Gearing. We are very fortunate to have been invited to visit the garden which is rarely open to the public.
Built by William Savage in 1608, Bloxworth House is reputedly the earliest domestic use of brick in Dorset. It was acquired by Sir John Trenchard in 1689 and, following the marriage of his grand-daughter Henrietta to Jocelyn Pickard, a London lawyer, it remained within the ownership of the Pickard family and their descendants until the mid 1960’s when the estate was sold and broken up. Bloxworth House is perhaps most famous in recent years for having been used as the home of Bathsheba Everdene (played by Julie Christie) in John Schlesinger’s 1967 film adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s “Far from the Madding Crowd”. The gardens at Bloxworth were extensively remodelled in the late 1990’s by Martin Lane Fox, the landscape and garden designer.
We shall be visiting Bloxworth in the Spring. The entrance drive sweeps past mature trees and drifts of narcissi, fritillaries and other bulbs to a parking area near the house. The front overlooks a striking ornamental canal flanked by Mediterranean pines, with a Grade II walled garden in one corner, and to the side there is a parterre and courtyard garden by the stable block. A gravel garden lies immediately to the south, filled with sun loving plants, followed by a series of terraces lined with holm oak standards and pleached limes together with a rose garden. To the west, a grass slope filled with more narcissi and primroses leads up to the boundary woodland where a large and varied collection of magnolias, camellias, cornus, azaleas and other ericaceous shrubs flourish in a pocket of acidic soil, unusual for this part of Dorset. The gardens at Bloxworth also feature a number of splendid mature trees, all at their best early in the year. A climb through the wood is rewarded by a wonderful view back over the house and gardens and out to the Dorset countryside beyond.
There is limited parking so numbers limited to x (please car share where possible). The gardens include some steps and steep paths.
Cost: £20.00 Tea and Coffee included. Picnic can be eaten within the grounds.