The Unexpected Garden - 12 months on.
Well, I can't believe that it has been 12 months since we first looked at the Knights Ashcombe Gardens in Simonsbath with a band of very keen ENPA Volunteers. These fantastic garden enthusiasts started with the snowdrop planting in February and March 2019 followed by filming when BBC Countryfile joined us for a day. During the year the volunteers cleared, cut, trimmed, cleaned and planted their way around the first area of the garden, while the cottage and school were being restored. The Knight's buildings are now looking resplendent in several layers of white wash, while the white rocks either side of Ashcombe Stream reflect back the glow. They took some cleaning and will need to be regularly managed but they are very impressive and stand like sentinels, guarding the cottage and stream.
Sadly, due to funding, we have not been able to do the paths this year, but the plan is to get them repaired so that people can walk safely up the West Path, cross a bridge (the evidence for the original bridge is very easy to see) and then re-join the Two Moors Way and return to the car park. The East Path needs a lot of work, this will be a future project.
Now that The Simonsbath and Exmoor Trust is about to be formed, we hope that we can start looking at grants to help with this. ENPA CareMoor for Exmoor has been a fantastic supporter of the project and the Trust will work alongside them in 2020 to do some much-needed fund raising. The interest in the project is growing and it was wonderful to talk to HRH The Prince of Wales about it at the ENPA Big Picnic in July 2019. He was very interested in our plans for a fernery and next year we plan to create this in the quarry.
New for 2020, on the third
Monday of each month
Ashcombe Garden Tour Mon 18th May 11am - 12pm & 2pm - 3pm
Tours of the garden landscape begin from Ashcombe car park in Simonsbath (TA24 7SH where there are also public toilets) and will be led by volunteers working on the gardens. 01598 752509 to book your space.
The support and interest throughout 2019 was wonderful and we are all looking forward to a very special 2020, as this is 200 years since John Knight made his final purchase on the Royal Forest of Exmoor and began The Year of Change for the area.
For all the latest news please go to: