Scotney Castle en de romantiek van een oud kasteel

The Garden of England: Scotney Castle

Het Heart of Kent is het Engelse platteland op z’n best. Een landschap met golvende heuvels en bosrijke valleien, boomgaarden, wijngaarden, prachtige kastelen, tuinen en vele historische huizen. Er zijn meer kastelen, landhuizen en voor het publiek toegankelijke tuinen dan in welke andere streek van Engeland dan ook.

Scotney Castle is één van de meest romantische tuinen van Engeland, gelegen tussen het decor van de ruïne van een 14de-eeuws kasteel met slotgracht. De foto’s zijn van augustus 2004.

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Like many National Trust properties, Scotney Castle and Gardens are incomparably beautiful and inspiring. Scotney Castle takes these traits to the next level.

On arrival at a small turnstile gate, you’ll see the large Victorian ‘new Castle’ to your left. Entry to this is now possible and it is worth the trip, if only to see why it was built there as a replacement for the neo-classical Jacobean castle-house on the lake (of which more later). The views inspire awe. The interiors show the quality of the panel carvings that once adorned the house on the lake, now re-interpreted in the Victorian house, along with Regency and 20th Century touches – a mix that works and makes the place a real home and more than a ‘museum-house’.

The gardens are magical at any time of year, the situation is not unlike a ‘combe’ in Devon or Cornwall say. A long valley snakes down towards water (in this case a lake and a river). With grassland and heath at the summit, the trees gradually take hold as you descend, providing shelter for exquisite rock gardens, formal plantings and winding walks through shaded glades.

The fairytale qualities of Scotney are myriad. The surviving medieval castle turret, it was one of four, towers to one side with an Edwardian ‘lantern’ at its summit. To its left rambles a 16th century house with later additions, circling a courtyard surrounded by moated low walls. Through an arch (formerly the front door) and you are into what would have been the grand reception hall of the Jacobean neo-classical extension (now a picturesque ‘ruin’ open to the sky). Through the other side and you’ll find yourself on a grassy terrace which once contained formal par-terre gardens. [1]

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A fourteenth century moated castle with a garden that is a prime example of picturesque aesthetic ideas applied to garden design. From 1952 to 1970 it belonged to Christopher Hussey, author of an excellent book on The Picturesque, which traces the ideas to Price and Knight. The author’s grandfather, Edward Hussey, was an amateur artist and had the new house built with a terrace, designed by William Sawrey Gilpin, and a transition to the picturesque castle garden. The latter is planted with exotic plants, in the picturesque manner. Lanning Roper designed a circular herb garden near the bridge. [2]


[1] National Trust: Scotney Castle Garden and Estate

[2] Garden Holidays Worldwide, Gardenvisit Editorial – Scotney Castle Garden

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