Welcome to Coleton Fishacre in south Devon, a gorgeous Art Deco style house and a beautiful valley garden that leads you to a coastal viewpoint. The house was built in the 1920s and the country home of the D’Oyly Carte family (of Gilbert and Sullivan fame). A 30 acre garden surrounds the house and the National Trust are recreating it as it once would have been with the help of photographs and planting books kept by the family.
There are many steep steps in the garden and slopes especially at the bottom, so it can be quite a challenging garden to walk around. Due to the high humidity created by the sea and the stream that runs through the valley many exotic plants thrive here under the canopy of the trees.
Paths lead from the house down the valley and on either side, with many smaller paths, slopes, steps meandering through the slopes. One minute you can be in a typical English woodland scene with bluebells and ransoms,
Plants from South America, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia rub noses with English cottage garden plants; Azaleas and Rhododendrons hide behind tall stands of bamboo; Magnolias flirt with Chilean Myrtles. Someone here had fun choosing the planting, it is colourful and eclectic and lush. You never know quite what lies ahead.
And from the delightful Gazebo, which can be reached via a lawned-path, you get a wonderful glimpse of the sea.
The gardens have a lovely courtyard tea room which serve lunches as well as cakes, a National Trust shop and an interesting range of plants for sale too. The route to the gardens is along a narrow road for the latter part, but this is only for a short distance and there are passing places. Quite often coaches arrive for lunch-time so if you want a quieter visit then choose earlier in the morning or late afternoon. Or do as we did and stay in one of the cottages so you can visit the garden at any time you like.
IF YOU ENJOY A WALK, LONG OR SHORT, THEN HAVE A LOOK AT JO’S SITE WHERE YOU ARE WELCOME TO JOIN IN WITH HER MONDAY WALKS.