It was Monday, a holiday, the May Day bank holiday, so the housemate and I needed to go out somewhere. We tried locally, at a gardening event at a local park, Preston Park, Stockton, but there wasn’t much of interest to see and I left there with only a vague idea of where I was going next.
After consulting the map in my head and with a recently retired person’s desire to see beyond the bird table, we ended up at Raby Castle in County Durham, which dates back to the 14th century and was the ancestral home of the Nevills. The estate is run by Lord Barnard who, through his grandmother, is a direct descendant of the Nevills of Raby. For anyone interested in the full story try here – http://www.rabycastle.com/history
The castle stands in a 200-acre deer park surrounded by some very English countryside and has a walled garden, carriage house and a tea house which utilises the old stables
where we fortified ourselves with lunch before venturing out to the walled garden :-
The greenhouse in front of the wall protects just one tree – a 200 year old fig tree. You can only view it from outside and I couldn’t get a reasonable shot through the glass with my camera to give you an idea of the size of the thing. There is just one trunk in the middle and the branches are trained out along the wall in both directions to fill that glass house, which is heated in winter.
Theses incredible hedges are also over 200 years old and have acquired the most amazing shapes. They run down across the garden enclosing the more formal area and the housemate gives an idea of the scale. This area contains a pool and small fountain –
and has views over to the castle
I got fed up of washed out sky, so tried turning it blue. I suppose it now looks artificial.
There were far too many plants to show in this post and I am no expert, but here are some that I really liked –
Contrasting to the free flowing form of the yew hedges were these geometric shaped low box hedges. There were 5 of these altogether, but I couldn’t get all of them in one shot.
Of course, no walled garden would be complete without a summer house, this one just happens to have a great view –
This led us on closer to the castle and the wider parkland.
with so much space, a tree can really get going –
So we went on, to looking for the animals that give this deer park it’s name. There are two species of deer, Red deer, the largest British wild land mammal, and the smaller Fallow deer. Apparently, both herds contain the descendants of deer preserved in this area since Norman times. With so many visitors on a holiday weekend, the deer had hidden themselves, despite their numbers and were eventually found in the farthest corner of the park. You couldn’t get close to them, but I was surprised at the size of the herds, they seemed to stretch out in a never ending line.
As they were so far away, I had to use the maximum zoom on my camera and came to realise how hard it is to hold a steady shot at high magnification and even to see clearly what you are focusing on! I couldn’t for instance find the stag with his antlers on show, but there was one.
Leaving the estate, we had a only a quick look, as they were getting ready to close, into the carriage house . They certainly liked to use bright colours –
So, that was another day out in the country, beyond the bird table, I hope you enjoy.