Sunday 10 June 2018
The creation of an English Garden: Lord and Lady Heseltine purchased the house and its surrounding grounds in 1976, and over the next twenty five years their priority consisted in the restoration of 40 acres of woodland. The arboretum, now spread out over seventy acres, features a collection of more than three thousand different trees and shrubs, together with extensive herbaceous borders, water gardens, an alpine trough garden, a sculpture garden, a rose garden and a rill. The medieval fish ponds, their interconnecting canal and the existing lake have been restored and two new ones have been added. An eighteenth century avenue of mature yews has been returned to its former grandeur.
The arboretum contains more than 3,500 different species of trees and shrubs, including rare plants which were wild-collected by well-known plantsmen, including Roy Lancaster. It is also well-known for its sculpture garden, which has an eclectic collection of work, ranging from a white marble Tazza fountain to an enormous statue of Lenin. The pretty little village of Thenford is well-worth a stroll around. There will be tea, coffee and cakes for sale during the afternoon in the Church Barn.
En route to the gardens – which don’t open until 2pm – we will visit the lovely town of Royal Leamington Spa (for about 2 hours) which has a town centre of around a third of a mile square so getting around couldn’t be easier. All areas of the town centre are easily accessed on foot within a ten minute walk, which is a great way to appreciate the stunning Regency architecture and its parks. Specific tour leaflets will be available at the Visitor Information Centre.
The coach will leave Shrewsbury at approximately 9.15am and return to Shrewsbury about 7pm (Exact timings will be confirmed a week before travel). The cost for the coach, visit to Royal Leamington Spa and entry into Thenford Gardens is £48.50. A £15 non-refundable deposit pp when booking, please.