Visit to Cadhay House and Gardens, 22 July 2022

Driving there an unusual substance landed on the windscreen. Closer investigation showed it to be something we’d not seen for some time – rain! Excellent timing! It continued until those of us who needed to, had changed out of sandals, found rainwear and swopped the sun hats for umbrellas….and then stopped.

We were ushered inside and shown the dining room, a sitting room and the music room. Our guide went into detail on the paintings, the furniture and the items on display. Unlike many NT properties, we were allowed to sit on most of the chairs – welcome, as it was a bit hot and sticky by then. Upstairs we admired the many en-suite bedrooms, most with very high four-poster beds. We were told this was to stay clear of damp and vermin – in the bad old days! Interestingly each side of the bed had a tumbler but there was only one set of steps per bed!

 

Very impressive that there is only a very narrow time window between the cleaners leaving after one set of guests depart and new visitors arrive. Tours slot into that gap.  Of great interest was the long gallery packed with artefacts, and then the roof in the top room with a very large table.

It was then into the hands of the very capable Dave. Dave wore two hats – six months as head gardener and six as buildings renovator, maintaining all the buildings on site. He’d been doing this for 20 years and had converted all the outbuildings into holiday lets. The Manor itself now operates as holiday lets, sleeping 22.

Dave gave us a comprehensive tour of all the gardens, starting with the Community Allotments and the Manor Allotments and fruit garden, all in this magnificent walled garden. This is a really good idea; they are open to those living within 3 miles of Cadhay. The allotment holders are clearly spurred on by the setting, the competition and the public appreciation. It was on to the Stew Pond and the history of that. We walked all the way round that and then on to the newest addition – another garden area. We were particularly impressed by the borders filled with dahlias and the revelation that they are all grown from seeds collected by him at the end of the season and all looking their best. This seems to produce some very unique varieties and unusual blooms.

Finally, our cream tea eaten outside in the sun, in groups, so lots of chat.  The teas were very good, lovely cream, jam and scones, a choice of tea or coffee and top ups offered. A highly recommended treat, indeed some said they would go back just for that!

All in all a very enjoyable visit to a wonderful house and garden.

Anne Mayes

 

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