A pause at Scotney Castle

A few weeks ago I was in an online discussion about the Spring Great Dixter Plant Fair, I have visited Great Dixter previously, most recently in 2015 as can be read about here.  It was agreed between a group of us garden bloggers that we would meet up at the plant fair. Great Dixter is a garden I am very fond of but is a bit of a hike for a day trip and so visiting is not frequent and usually turns into an overnight stay somewhere.  The glory of an overnight stay is that I can fit in other visits at the same time.  After some consideration, as the choice is never easy, I decided I would call in to Scotney Castle which is fairly close to Dixter and was about thirty minutes from where I would be staying the night.  I did not know anything about the castle so it was a visit of discovery.
The first thing thing that caught my attention as I arrived were the friezes set into the building.  The 'new' castle was built in the 1830s-1840s, it has that Victorian look about it.
It has grand and imposing entrances.
and sits raised above the gardens, looking down on them.
I was swiftly distracted by this magnificent Magnolia stellata in full flower.  Mine at home is still tightly in bud, a good couple of weeks behind.  I was though, of course, closer to the Equator at this point.
Close by there was another stellata, I do love these magnolias.  I love all magnolias, I am not sure I have ever looked at one and thought 'yuk'.
As I walked along there are paths that lead the eye.
But ahead I could see this ruined castle.  I stopped to look at the map I had been given and sure enough, there is a moated ruined castle at the bottom of the garden.  Every home should have one.  This was the original Scotney Castle, with its origins back in the 14th century.  It was deliberately 'follied' when the new castle was built.
It is stunningly beautiful.
I loved this wooden section.
It is good that it still survives though I imagine it cannot for much longer.
and there are fish in the moat, lots of them.
I enjoyed taking this photo as it demonstrates the 'woman in the red coat' phenomena, she manages to get into many photographers photographs.  It is probably not the same woman (now there's a thought, the ghostly woman in a red coat who gets into shot to get her revenge on all photographers who tutted at her to get out of the way).  (I should add, I too own a red coat).
I loved the boat house, that looks to me like a witch should live in it who has a secret store of gingerbread.
I also visited the ice house, I love a good ice house, they fascinate me.
It was very deep, it gave me that woozy feeling as I leaned over to take the photograph.  I am not good with heights.
From the ice house I walked back up towards the new castle, there are many rhododendrons and I imagine in a few weeks there will be lots of colour in the gardens.
I loved the quarry garden, which was quarried for stone to build the new castle and makes a superb garden feature.
It sets off the house rather well.
There were many primroses in the grounds, the driveway into the castle was lined with them.  They are an abiding memory of this visit as I have never seen so many growing by roadsides before.  We do not have this near to where I live.

I started to walk back to my car and then I saw the walled garden.  What a mistake it would have been not to have looked inside.  I love a good walled garden.
and this is a good walled garden.
The pruned roses on the exterior of the walls spell out 'the gardeners who look after this space really know what they are doing'.
It was immaculate inside.  Everything was ready for the start of the growing season.
With signs of the first plantings already starting to grow.
There was this very fine glasshouse as well.
and these carefully protected espaliered peach trees.
The scent of these hyacinths wafted through the garden.  I love the scent when I am outdoors, I hate it inside houses/offices where I find it overpowering.

I really enjoyed my visit, it was a good walk after a long drive and set up the start of this mini break away.  Tomorrow would be Great Dixter and I shall write about that shortly.

Related posts:

Breakfast at The Walled Nursery


  1. A beautiful place: it was lovely to walk through it with you. I have just also read about your garden and am amazed at how much you’ve squeezed into it. It must look a picture in the warm months.


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