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GARDENS ILLUSTRATED: West Country Kitchen Gardens

23rd - 26th September 2020

4 days from £2,595pp

This tour explores ways in which we can all become happily more productive, to learn from the ‘experts’ how to grow the finest kitchen garden produce throughout the year and in many cases, how to use all that is grown in the most delicious ways.
  • Visit, THE PIG-at Combe in the secluded Otter Valley
  • See the traditional kitchen garden at Forde Abbey that still supplies the house and the estate
  • Visit Hugh Fearney Whittingstall's River Cottage
  • Visit South Wood Farm, one of Arne Maynard’s most all-round pleasing designs
  • At Kingston Lacy Victorian Kitchen Garden, we discover a fascinating complex of immaculately restored glass houses
  • Visit Edmondsham House, where the walled kitchen garden has been organic for 35 years
  • Day 1:

    The tour starts at Bristol Parkway Railway Station at 09:15. Those that wish to bring their own cars to the hotel will be transferred at 10:15 to the first visit, THE PIG-at Combe in the secluded Otter Valley. There apparently is a saying in Devon that ‘if you stick your finger in the ground it will grow’, and the kitchen garden here is the productive beating heart of this small specialist hotel that is part of the growing number of ‘piggeries’ owned by Robin Hutson, all of which put a big emphasis on growing excellent fresh produce on site for the Chefs to choose from.  At The PIG-at Combe there is a kitchen walled garden, herb garden and infusion garden that we will be shown as well as offered a Chef’s tasting. Then onto the traditional kitchen garden at Forde Abbey that still supplies the house and the estate. A cream tea will be included in the visit. Travel on to Summer Lodge with time to settle in before dining together in the award-winning restaurant with wine included.

  • Day 2:

    River Cottage is the name of the old farmhouse, garden, kitchen classroom and headquarters of writer & broadcaster Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and his enthusiastic team. We visit the working organic small holding before sitting down to a delicious lunch straight from the garden. We then venture to the edge of the Blackdown Hills to South Wood Farm, one of Arne Maynard’s most all-round pleasing designs. The garden enwraps a 17th century thatched farmhouse and includes a nuttery, orchard, trained fruit and a beautiful productive potager.  Return to the hotel with time to change before dining together at The Acorn Inn, a few steps up the lane.

  • Day 3:

    At Kingston Lacy Victorian Kitchen Garden, we discover a fascinating complex of immaculately restored glass houses that includes a Vinery, Orchid house and a small sunken glass house. There will also be time to visit the adjoining Kingston Lacy Community Allotments. In the 1940s there were 1.4 million allotments in the UK. This has now dwindled to around 330 thousand but with more wishing to grow their own, waiting lists are huge throughout the country. We then continue to Wimborne Minster for free time to find your own lunch followed by a visit to Deans Court that has a 18th century ‘serpentine’ wall. It was the first organic garden in the country to be accredited by the Soil Association. The last visit today is to Edmondsham House, where the walled kitchen garden has been organic for 35 years and ‘No Dig’ for 16 years Head Gardener, Andrew Haynes will talk us through the running of this highly productive garden. Return to Summer Lodge to dine together in the hotel restaurant.

  • Day 4:

    Owner, Chris Smith will welcome us to Pennard Plants where we discover one of the largest selections of edible plants, heritage and heirloom seeds, fruit and herb plants to be found in the UK. In the nearby village of Alhampton, Charles Dowding will show us his remarkable productive patch and talk us through the ‘No Dig’ principals.   The new gardening buzz in the West Country is The Newt. Here we are introduced to the decorative kitchen garden and learn how the wonderful array of top fruits are being trained to be productive and decorative. Lunch is included on arrival. The coach will then return to Bristol Parkway Railway Station for 17:00 hrs and for those that need to collect cars you will be returned to Summer Lodge by 16:00.

Your Accommodation

Summer Lodge Country House Hotel

★★★★
Overview
In 4 acres of beautiful gardens, Summer Lodge features luxurious rooms, a leisure centre and an award-winning restaurant. With free parking and free Wi-Fi, the hotel is 15 minutes from Yeovil.