Arthur Cole, bee skep, cowslip, dog;s mercury, fallow deer, Hadspen House, hoop petticoat daffodil, Roman Villa, Snakes' head fritillary, Sweet Track, The Newt in Somerset, thrush, Turkish tulip, violet
Ten days or so ago, I took my friend Helen for her first visit to The Newt in Somerset. As ever, I took lots of photos, but I have posted on the subject many times before (search on ‘Newt’) so here are just a selected few taken on that occasion, followed by more on yesterday’s visit.
Helen particularly hoped to see deer. We did.
My most recent visit, yesterday, was very different, a dawn walk. This meant getting up at 5.00 a.m. When I left home, with just a small glass of orange juice inside me, my car told me it was 6.5 degrees C. When I got to the Newt, it said 4 degrees. On the way, I had been driving almost eastwards for most of the time, and had been enjoying pre-dawn skies, with their pink, pale blue, and mauve hues, frustrated that the roads did not permit me to stop and take photos. (Get a dash-cam for the purpose I have since been advised!). By the time I got to the car park, the sun was just over the horizon.
I made my way to the Cyder Bar, and saw a few people there. The coffee-making machinery was covered, but there was a man behind the bar and about four other people assembled. I called out as I approached, with not much hope, ‘Are you selling coffee?’ Arthur, who turned out to be our leader, replied, ‘Not selling it’. But he was preparing cafetieres of said beverage for all his clients, of whom there would be eight, including me. Two were guests at the hotel, Hadspen House.
While we took our coffee I was delighted to see a thrush on the lawn nearby. Difficult to see at this angle, but I think it’s a song thrush
Arthur Cole*, Head of Programmes, turned out to be a man who knew everything about everything, all things vegetation, gardening, geology, history, everything. And incredibly enthusiastic about all those everythings. You couldn’t ask for a better guide. He took us first to the marl pits area. I wish I could remember even a tenth of what he told us during the couple of hours we were with him.
*(I confess to just having found this hour-long programme, but I shall be watching it soonest.)
I had never noticed these fossils before. They had been on the sea-bed, in tropical seas near the equator, a couple of hundred years previously.
The Newt holds the National Collection of Apples by County.
Privet flowers are one of the most dangerous to those suffering from hay fever. The smaller the flower, the worse the effect apparently.
‘Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?’ ‘With silver bells, and cockle shells, and pretty maids all in a row.’ And where is one of our major cockle-producing areas? In Morecambe Bay in Lancashire, calling to mind the disaster of 2004.
In the kitchen garden, tulips replace temporarily the brassicas grown until very recently in these beds, while they await their new edible crop.
The battery in my camera gave out, and I only thought to get my phone out – I rarely use it for photos – a while later. We were led to a parkland area not usually accessible to day visitors. We stood on the grass helipad, erstwhile rounders pitch for staff as they developed the land in the second decade of this century.
Here are the young orchards, destined to provide The Newt with its cider, sorry cyder, and apple juice in years to come, but not yet ready. Arthur told us the rows had been carefully lined up to provide aesthetically pleasing vistas from a distance, which I had certainly noticed when walking to and from the Roman Villa.
It was 10 o’clock when I left, and it was already getting busy, on this the penultimate day of the Easter holidays.
Another very familiar view, of the way back to the car park, but so unfamiliar with the sun full on it from behind me.
The Newt in Somerset is ever being added to. We were informed that there is another exciting development to open in the coming months, which will increase in attractiveness over the years. I can’t wait!