This year the chosen destination was Chippenham Park, a fine late 19th century neo-Queen Anne country house in the Cambridgeshire countryside near to Newmarket. The surrounding extensive parkland has plantings reputed to go back 200 to 300 years. The 350 acre gardens are a mix of the formal and informal and each spring they are carpeted by snowdrops and aconites. The house is reached by a drive bordered by elegant tulip trees and large limes and the border of the ancient walled garden is 400 metres long and filled with gorgeous blooms.
The members enjoyed wooded lakeside walks, countless beautiful roses and grand vistas, including 'The Grand Canal' one of the references to Italy. The weather was not clement, but we were all undaunted, eager to enjoy the stunning gardens, which we did with the help of umbrellas and some fine canapes provided by our kind hosts, Mr and Mrs Eustace Crawley. The evening was concluded by a very traditional stop at a transport cafe (our ever thoughtful driver Jon's idea), as we made our picturesque way home in his vintage bus.
Photographs by Clare Aldus - click on a photo to enlarge it