I set off early on the Saturday of the Bank Holiday weekend to visit gardens in Devon. The weather was glorious and with surprisingly little traffic, I arrived just as the gardens at Knightshayes were opening.
From Salisbury, drive down A303 and join M5 towards Exeter. Leave at J27 on A361 signposted to Tiverton/Barnstaple and then take A3126/A396, Bolham Road. After a short while, turn into Lea Road and Bolham Lane is on your left – follow the brown tourist signs to Knightshayes as Sat Nav can send you the wrong way.
Before heading to the House and Terrace, visit the magnificent Walled Garden which is to the left of the stable block. [For more information on the Walled Garden, read my article on Walled Gardens]
It’s a short walk from here to the House. The Terrace runs in front of the house where there are magnificent views over the garden towards the hills
while to your left, is a series of garden rooms.
The path leads on to the Woodland Garden
Knightshayes was bought by John Heathcote Amory, a Tiverton lace manufacturer in 1867. He commissioned William Burges to design a new house which was completed by 1872. Edward Kemp advised on the outer landscape as well as designing terraces, topiary, gravel walks, rose garden, an American Garden and the layout of the kitchen garden. Further work was carried out in the twentieth century with the help of Lanning Roper. Roper created a new garden within the Bowling Green while the American Garden was transformed into the Azalea Garden. On Sir John Heathcote Amory’s death in 1972, Knightshayes Court was given to the National Trust with part of the parkland.
There are over 1200 plant species in the formal and woodland garden that can only be found here – it’s one of the biggest variety of plant collections in the UK.