I am emailing information about the opening of Ashridge House and the Grade II* gardens for guided tours during August and hope it may be of interest to members of the Hardy Plants Society. Whilst the house and gardens are open for tours during August, the gardens continue to be open at weekends for general visits until the end of September. You may already know that they are the finest surviving example of the work of Humphry Repton who set out his vision of 15 separate gardens as Pleasure Grounds to complement the newly built mansion in 1813.
The sparkling white thousand foot long Grade I mansion, with its splendid ornate interiors, houses paintings dating from the early 17th Century and includes the Christopher Tower Collection of oils on canvas, miniatures and watercolours, some by renowned painters such as Sir Joshua Reynolds. There are sculptures and modern paintings too and, in the restored 19th Century stables, there is a new exciting exhibition telling the story of Ashridge from its monastic beginnings in 1283 through the Dissolution, when it became a royal home to Henry VIII’s children, to a grand 18th and 19th Century aristocratic estate and finally on into the 21st Century as one of the world’s leading business schools. It is a wonderful pictorial journey including drawings and maps of the most recent exciting archaeological finds from Tudor times.
The gardens, as well as containing Humphry Repton’s Pleasure Grounds, include an arboretum, a moat, skating pond, an italianate garden and a 400 metre Wellngtonia avenue, lined on two inner sides with a 390 metre rhododendron walk, all dating from the mid to late 19th Century.
I know that many local societies and organisations do not normally meet in August but I hope you will be able to circulate the information by email and, if you would like to arrange a group visit to the gardens or the house beyond August, please get in touch wtih Mick Thompson, Gardens Manager on 01442 841042 or email firstname.lastname@example.org