Welcome to Tiny Tours- a little virtual something to help you through the doldrums of winter.
I'm starting our tours with Stourhead, in England, since it's one of my very favorite gardens. Not overly flashy, but extremely serene and peaceful.
The Gate into the Estate is quite beautiful in itself.
The stables were outrageous. Such lucky horses!
One of the first gardens you come to at Stourhead is the Walled Garden. There were many bright flowers and huge flocks of butterflies. Most of the garden is quite natural and green. This is one of the few places with riotous color.
The drive up to the house is lined with 600 year old chestnut trees.
I didn't have time to tour the house (next time). Thought the cattle out front were quite interesting. The statues on the roof were originally in the temple of Apollo, but they were vandalized so much, they were put up out of reach.
The route around the lake is 2 miles, but there is so much to see that it wasn't even a question of whether we would walk it all, but rather of how long it would take us.
This is the Palladian Bridge. It crosses a tiny bay in the lake. From the Pantheon, across the lake, it looks like the bridge crosses a river that empties into the lake. Nice little bit of visual trickery.
From the Palladian Bridge, you can get a view of the Temple of Apollo up on the hilltop.
The Pantheon is a photographer's dream. There are a number of places to photograph it on the route around the lake.
Here is the Grotto, seen from the lake side.
The River Maid sits behind a small bathing pool in the Grotto.
There are a number of ancient trees that prove the age of these gardens.
The Gothic Cottage was off limits when I was there because the slate roof was causing weight problems. They had scheduled to remove the slate and re roof in the original thatch. I imagine that project is complete now.
Wildlife was abundant. I was enchanted by this mama coot trying to coax her baby into the water.
The Temple of Apollo sits high above the lake. There is a fork in the path before you get to the temple which reflects life. You can go to the right and the way is steep and rocky, but you are rewarded by a visit to the temple and outstanding views of the lake. Or you can go left and the path is level and smooth, but there are no rewards. (PS the rocky, steep path was worth it.)
A view of the tiny island from the Temple of Apollo.
A churchyard at the end of the walk revealed some exquisite headstones, many so old you could no longer read the writing on them.