Levens, two headed goats & stags’ heads

We went to Levens Hall yesterday.  Why do people think they need to fly around the world when there are places like this an hour’s drive away.  There was some fine craftsmanship and some outstanding tree-work. Look at this for walling! I think it is pretty recent. but the gates have been around for some time: I really admire what a smith can do with iron which, when finished looks impossibly unworkable. Here’s detail of another gate in he same garden. The work of the hall itself is fine too, we didn’t go inside – it was too sunny a day, but even from outside it is stunning, look at these downspouts and can head: The heart emblem is said to represent the winning card of a card game that acquired the house in days long past. These cylindrical chimney stacks with slate ‘pot’ took my fancy too! But the real craft of this garden took hundreds of years work to produce: Takes four gardeners a month to clip, feast your eyes and imagination! They have a blight problem with the small box hedges and considering the hundreds and hundreds of yards there are it must be a real headache.  The rest of the garden is stunning too with a magnificent fountain garden topped with pleached limes.  We chatted to two lady gardeners who were bending hazel twigs into natural plant supports.  We’ll be trying this at home. The whole place has a magical air (especially if you arrive before opening time) there is a surprise around every corner. Across the road is the deer park, fairly recently converted ( c 1700) from a medeval deer park into a leisure park.  There are many fine oak trees: And some examples of stag head oaks where drought has caused the trees’ branches to die back and then regenerate: The park has black fallow deer, sheep and Bagot goats (the current owners of the estate are called Bagot): Spotted a double-header amongst them The park is as interesting as the garden, the grass seems to be original unimproved pasture and full of flowers Some interesting replanting too, never seen a tree within a tree before! However, considering the amount of damage recently suffered from flooding in this district, someone really ought to be checking debris building up against bridges. Footnote Forgot my backup camera batteries and had to resort to the videocam for later shots, apologies for the poor quality.

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