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The date was fixed ages go, so my friend Sue and I were delighted when the weather earlier this week turned out to be wonderful for our planned visit to the National Trust property at Dyrham Park, South Gloucestershire.

From the car park it is a 15-minute amble down through parkland to the house, so we were very pleased to learn that later in the day a bus would bring us back up if we wished. Deferring the pleasure of a coffee, we turned aside to visit the conservatory.Dyrham Park 01Dyrham Park 02Dyrham Park 03Once refreshed, we just wandered around taking in the general picture.Dyrham Park 04Dyrham Park 07Dyrham Park 08We did think this rather spoiled things,Dyrham Park 05until we saw that why it was there.  We learned later that Tim, head gardener, would spend his entire life cutting these hedges if he could get away with it.Dyrham Park 06We continued to wander and saw animate creatures as well as plants.Dyrham Park 09Dyrham Park 10Dyrham Park 18At noon we joined a small group led by an excellent volunteer for a guided tour round the gardens. We also learned about the development of the property by William Brathwayt at the turn of the 18th century.  It has been very little altered since then, apart from some Victorian improvements to domestic offices. When the National Trust took it over in 1956 it was in a very deliapidated state. The Trust has been restoring the gardens and grounds to the spirit of their original conception ever since.

Photo opportunities galore of plants near…Dyrham Park 11Dyrham Park 12Dyrham Park 13Dyrham Park 14Dyrham Park 15and very near, with…Dyrham Park 19Dyrham Park 20

Dyrham Park 21and without insects on them.Dyrham Park 22Dyrham Park 23Dyrham Park 24Dyrham Park 25After lunch, we discovered nooks and crannies, and learned that Henry, the cat we had seen earlier and saw again now, lived in a flat on the first floor of this courtyard, climbing up the vine to get in his window.Dyrham Park 26We visited the church,

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and wandered a bit more.Dyrham Park 30Dyrham Park 31Then Sue decided to take it easy while I went on another guided tour, of the woodland terraces.  Less photogenic this time, but it was interesting to hear, from the same volunteer as had led the morning tour, the story of their development, decline, and current restoration.Dyrham Park 32Dyrham Park 33

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Henry was everywhere. Now which T S Eliot feline does he resemble…?

Dyrham Park 35Dyrham Park 36There was no time to visit the house.  That must be for another time, at perhaps a different time of year, in order to enjoy the gardens at another season.