10:30am The Holt House, The Holt, Upham, Southampton, Hants, SO32 1HR
By kind permission of Mr and Mrs Edward Wake
The house as seen today dates from 1687 and is a classic William & Mary style with six original bays, and a later wing added in c1750 –. The house now sits very comfortably in the middle of the estate, at the centre of its own parkland landscape – which has recently been restored and enhanced to include wood pasture, new parkland railings that flow along the contours, a haha, and planting to complement the existing trees and woodland.
The Wakes created an amphitheatre by pushing the banks of soil away from the house and installing beds and climbers around the main building. Then Kim Wilkie incorporated a new grass amphitheatre, with its striking central zig-zag path dissecting the terraces - creating a focal point which leads up to a gate into the parkland beyond. Wilkie’s ability to harness existing features, incorporating these into his new contemporary scheme, is achieved to great effect – and the overall impact is one that neatly encapsulates his core ethos – to be ‘Led by the Land’. The collaboration between the Wakes and Wilkie is on-going. Other recent additional features have included a large spiral mound that sits at the centre of a ‘patte d’oie’ axis of five avenues linking the gardens to the woodland beyond. Also a perfectly round pond has been added at the end of one of the avenues, and this is surrounded by grazing sheep in the summer as part of the Estate’s woodland grazing regime that is beneficial to the local ecology – and a refreshing contrast to the efficient but monotonous arable farming system that has become so dominant in the post-war landscape.
The Kitchen Garden has now been restored and includes a greenhouses, a young pear orchard and meadow, a collection of 57 varieties of apple pruned as espaliers, long lavender hedges and mixed borders around the perimeter walls including a south facing bed with more tender plants. There is a growing collection of old shrub and climbing roses, some of which were brought from the collection at Fairfield House, Hambledon where the previous generation of Wakes created an extensive garden.
Cost: £24.00 Including tea and coffee. Picnics in the garden by arrangement and for a small donation to St Cross Charity.