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Hidden Gems

Shipton-under-Wychwood is an English village and civil parish in the Evenlode valley north of Burford, Oxfordshire. 

The house, Shipton Court, is a spectacular Jacobean building, built for the Lacey family in about 1603 and there is some hint in the records that the avenue existed, although it would have been embryonic, in 1617.

The beginnings of this extraordinary avenue of a hundred lime trees are shrouded in mystery. Come 1773, the trees were so spectacular that Sir John Read, who, by then, owned the place, left an instruction in his will that the avenue’s trees should not be cut down. Although some are more than 250 years old it’s unlikely that many of the original trees are still there. 

The wild garden proper with its lakes and waterfalls, was probably laid out in 1860 as a pleasure garden for the residents and visitors to Shipton Court. The spectacular Cedar of Lebanon, probably as much as 300 years old, was certainly a centre piece of the design.

 

The beautiful garden was developed further after the great war of 1914-18 with more woodland added to the north of the park. 

Gardens of this time were often full of optical illusions. The round pond, teaming with friendly ducks, is actually elliptical. The brilliant designers made it that way so that if you stand on the bridge, it looks round. Just above this pond is the original fish pond for the estate, now with a hidden feel surrounded by willows.

The stream flows down from one pond to the next and then, via rushing cascades, into a canal and onwards into the River Evenlode.

An idyllic spot for a gentle stroll as it’s hidden away from the regular tourist hotspots. 

As recently as 2010 the garden was acquired by a local charity, Wynchwood Wild Gardens. A huge amount of restoration work was undertaken by local volunteers and the place offers a serene tranquillity to be treasured.

 

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kate
Author: kate

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