This fascinating garden, unique in Devon, was discovered in a wood in 1988 by owners Ken and Doris Rees. It has many of the features common to the Edwardian period, including terraces, pools, rills, staircases, a pergola and a gazebo but the cohesive and fluid design at Great Ambrook looks back to the picturesque tradition rather than the compartmentalised, formal and classical layouts typical of other Arts & Crafts designers and Italianate gardens of the dayOver 600 yards of paths, made of Portland stone, wind around the four-acre plot. Individually, the features are striking and in keeping with the Arts & Crafts style with the use of natural materials and the successful combination of substantial size yet comfortable character. At first sight quite modern in their apparent simplicity, they are in fact multifaceted, ingenious and practical. Many of the original trees and shrubs remain, including numerous western red cedars (Thuja plicata), Chusan palms (Trachycarpus fortunei), maidenhair trees (Ginkgo biloba), Monterey cypresses (Cupressus macrocarpa), willow podocarps (Podocarpus salignus) and the tallest wild cherry (Prunus avium) in Devon! More paths and plants are still being uncovered today.
An application to have the garden registered by English Heritage was made in 2012 and a decision is expected early in 2014. DGT strongly supports the registration of this important garden.
Tours of the garden will be led by Angela Dodd-Crompton who has conducted extensive research on the designer, builders, owners and the social history of this unique pleasure ground.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE STONE PATHS CAN BE EXTREMELY SLIPPERY WHEN WET. GREAT CARE AND APPROPRIATE FOOTWEAR MUST BE WORN BY VISITORS TO THE GARDEN. THE TOUR IS EXPECTED TO LAST FOR TWO HOURS. THERE ARE NO TOILETS AT THE SITE.
THIS EVENT IS NOW FULLY BOOKED. The Italian Garden is private property and is not open to the public.
Contact Maggie Potter (t. 01626 879806; e. firstname.lastname@example.org). By kind permission of the Executor of the late Mr Ken Rees.