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Hestercombe, near Taunton

Listed under Gardens in Taunton, United Kingdom.

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This Somerset garden was designed by the famous one-two punch of Edwin Lutyens (architecture, bones of the garden) and Gertrude Jekyll (abundant color-coordinated plantings).

The house, which houses the Somerset fire brigade, is not open to the public, but everyone says it isn’t worth it anyway. Yet it makes a fabulous backdrop for the Victorian terrace, which is flanked by two long stone rills. Opposite the house is the pergola walk. The sunken square formed by all these features is called the Great Plat, which is a large parterre garden broken up into geometric spaces and planted with a succession of color, from spring delphiniums to summer cannas.

Noted Lutyen’s touches include the elliptical steps and the use of stone to create the spaces within the gardens — these are seen at their finest here.

Enter the gardens through the Chinese gate, which has a cutout that lets you peek in, and onto the terrace, planted in lavender, catmint and other purple and silver plants.

There is another garden at Hestercombe, an 18th-century landscape garden that was discovered only in the 1990s. Peter White was working nearby, and would take his lunch into the woods at Hestercombe. Gradually, he noticed remnants of the garden that had been built between 1750-1786 by Coplestone Warre Bampfylde. White was so taken with the garden, that he has been instrumental in its restoration, and is now chief executive of the Hestercombe Gardens Trust. The combination of the 18th-century landscape garden with its path through woods and carefully planned “natural” views and the Lutyens-Jekyll Edwardian garden makes Hestercombe one of the finest garden visits anywhere.

For a selction of great places to stay in Somerset go to The Hotel Guru.

Written by  Marty Wingate.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Nice pic. At Hestercombe garden you feel love and romance in you when you visit it. Nearly 70,000 people visit per year. Enter through the chinese gates. Stroll woodland walks and see the temple, waterfalls and Victorian Terrace planted in lavender. Timings are 10am to 6pm. Entry fees are Adult £7.50 , 2 Children free with each Adult.

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