Espalier apple tree at Wimpole Hall
In the last few sunny weekends of the year, the outdoor parts of Wimpole Hall near Royston are worth a lingering visit, either if you’ve got kids or are enthusiastic about gardening.
I fall into the enthusiastic about gardening category, so I loved the victorian walled kitchen garden. Surrounded by beautifully mellow brick walls with fruit trees trained along the warm surface, it was a riot of vegetables and colourful dahlias when I visited. They have a demonstration greenhouse filled with cordon trained tomatoes, but comfortingly you can also glimpse the enormous modern greenhouse behind the scenes where the real work gets done.
The entrance to the kitchen garden is a perfect example of formal simplicity which I’d love to reproduce the feeling of in my own garden – it makes the whole experience like visiting a temple to vegetables.
They have a variety of home made scarecrows – this one is my favourite.
It seems to have a lovely knowing expression as in knowing where all those birds have gone.
For kids and followers of teh fluff, the farm is a must visit. A riot of baby fluffy and furry things, they are an outpost of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, and you can see all kinds of breeds of goats, ducks, chickens and pigs, visit the beautifully tiled old dairy and revel in the structure of beautiful barns.
The current series of wooden barns were designed by Sir John Soane as a model farm, and they exude a homely elegance. The biggest one holds an exhibition about food production through the ages at Wimole, but it’s worth a visit for the breathtaking roof construction alone.
The big barn
And being National Trust, there are all the tea, cakes and plant sales you could possibly want to round off an afternoon in the pale autumn sunshine.
Wimpole Hall is open every weekend but dates during the week vary. http://www.wimpole.org/
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