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Mottistone Gardens & Estates

Photo credit: National Trust

Enchanting gardens set in a sheltered valley and surrounded by rolling downland.

The gardens Set in a sheltered valley these magical gardens are full of surprises, with shrub-filled banks, hidden pathways and colourful herbaceous borders. Created from an abandoned farmyard and surrounding an attractive Elizabethan manor house, these 20th-century gardens are experimenting with a Mediterranean-style planting scheme to take advantage of the warm, southerly location. Here the tall leaves of exotic plants fill the borders whilst a young olive grove is establishing itself on the high banks. From late spring to early autumn, the borders burst with bright reds, purples and oranges and a small organic kitchen garden is stocked with seasonal fruit and veg. The traditional tea garden is set alongside The Shack, a unique cabin retreat and cleverly designed home in miniature, created as their summer drawing office by architects Seely and Paget. The estate Stretching from the chalk downs through rolling hedge-lined farmland and down to the sea, the wider Mottistone Estate is a landscape shaped over thousands of years. Follow the network of footpaths that criss-cross the area and you’ll travel back in time past Bonze Age barrows and the Neolithic Longstone. Today the land is still cared for in a nature-sensitive way. Walk along any of the paths and you might spy butterflies gathering nectar from wild flowers, or rare birds in the wide skies overhead. In the summer, the elusive Nightjar even makes its home here on the common. Next to Mottistone Gardens you’ll find the car park and bus stop, which are good places to start your visit. There are many well marked paths to choose from and large expanses of open downland to wander freely over.

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