Its been very strange weather this December – very mild and very wet, with disastrous consequences for thousands of people living only a few miles from me. On the Sunday after Christmas I ventured out to Doncaster to drop my daughter at the station and decided to call in at nearby Brodsworth Hall for some fresh air and greenery.
It was a gorgeous day as you can see from the photos – the sky was clear and blue, it was sunny and it was warm… Around 12 degrees Celsius according to my phone and it felt much warmer in the sun.
I’ve been looking at news reports of the floods in Yorkshire this morning and York, always prone to flooding when the River Ouse bursts its banks, is in a terrible state. Apparently the River Foss flood defences failed near York when the substation itself was flooded so the gate had to be left in the open position. Hundreds of people have been evacuated and the main roads into this historic city are closed.
Leeds has also flooded and at Cawood, only about 8 miles from where I live, aerial photos show that the flooding extends in a great mile-wide swathe and most of the village is under feet of water. Very thankfully we are not affected as we are near the canal not a river. The nearest are the Aire at Snaith, which is the other side of the M62 embankment and the River Went, which is a few miles over the fields, at the other side of the canal. To my knowledge, our village has not flooded badly since the motorway was built so our fingers are crossed as more rain is forecast during this week.
I didn’t see any signs of floods towards Doncaster either and enjoyed getting away for a couple of hours to have a gentle walk in the beautiful grounds of Brodsworth Hall.
The house itself is closed in the winter so all of the windows on the ground floor are boarded up with shutters.
Its not a huge house and inside its an interesting place to visit as its been left more or less as it was found when English Heritage took it over in the 1980s. Its not exactly Downton (Highclere Castle) but its rooms provide a glimpse of what real life was like for a late Victorian well-to-do family.
The gardens are beautiful, well kept and very impressively manicured and the quality of light was perfect for trying out my new phone camera to see what it can do.
The gardens at Brodsworth Hall
Because of the mild weather, everything was very green and lush; a lot of the shrubs and trees in the garden are evergreens but there were also great displays of winter flowers. A really great thing to see at this time of year.
In the photo above you can see there are wallflowers, winter flowering pansies, normal for December. However, peer a bit closer and you can see that the two standard roses are still flowering – very unusual. There was also much talk in the shop/ticket office about the snowdrops that are already out. This is a bit of a worry as Brodsworth has an event in February where it opens up with special tours and talks to show off its very substantial snowdrop display. Let’s hope there are a few left with energy to flower…
If they don’t, maybe the gardeners will be more experimental – they have already put in a few beds of ornamental cabbages, which looked brilliant.
At some point in the house’s history, its owners have collected more exotic plants too and there is a deep, sunken garden full of palms and other tropicals.
The palms are protected by the sacking wrapped around them as an anti-frost blanket but there were new leaves popping out of the top already.
As I walked around I also saw a redwood and some autumn colour, although maybe the little tree giving the lovely orange and red display was in trouble as it was definitely a conifer and should have been green.
I also love the archways at Brodsworth Hall, which are covered in roses during the summer but still have an impact when pared back for winter.
Every so often the greenery is punctuated by a white marble statue, which gives the garden a lovely elegant feel to it.
A sad part of the walk was the forlorn little pet graveyard and then it was a shame to see that the local church at Brodsworth, which stands right in the garden of the Hall may not be able to open at all next year because of a lack of volunteers. I’m not religious but I do like the ancient churches that are everywhere in rural England and feel very strongly that they should be maintained as part of our history, as well as for the people who still want to worship there.
The delights of the Brodsworth Hall tea room
The sun was out all the time I was walking around and although it couldn’t be described as anything more strenuous than a stroll, I decided to visit the tea room anyway where they served a lovely cinnamon cappuccino with ginger biscuits. I had it outside, sitting in the sun and feeling very comfortable and warm.
I’m pleased with how the phone camera is working out and I’ve planned a couple of tutorial posts in early January so hopefully the closeups will work just as well as the scenic shots. I hope you’ve enjoyed the little virtual walk around Brodsworth Hall gardens. Its a great place to visit with loads of events between March and October – check out their website for more details.
If you’ve enjoyed this post, check out my other recent ones on my crochet granny stripe blanket and my visit to the Stylecraft mill – and you can sign up to follow by email so you never miss a post xxxx