Rob had stoked out a plan for Dartington, which he was excited about as it involved nature. We were going to walk through a deer park that was steeped in history. Now that it is coming close to the last 2 weeks of our trip we are savouring every last minute with the wildlife.
We took a beautiful walk through the deer park along side an ancient wall. We enjoyed watching a herd of Fallow deer grazing. They were enjoying the winter sunshine. We saw many beautiful does with spotted coats.
We also spotted one buck with big horns lazing amongst his herd!!!
The Dartington Deer Park dates back to 1107. Owning a deer park was seen as a symbol of stature. We walked along the ancient wall and into the forest where we stood upon the old circular mount where the medieval hunt was once observed for entertainment. This was the viewing platform where you can see the fields and forest in every direction. The grassy slopes descended towards the river Dart. We stood where royal Lords and Ladies once stood. After the hunt a big feast was held.
Whilst in the forest we really enjoyed spotting the most striking mushrooms growing up through the leaf litter of the forest floor.
As we explored we found that there was so, so much more to this beautiful estate. It had a very unique barn cinema where Mary Poppins was screening. You can stay in the drop dead gorgeous stone cottage accommodation.
We snuck into view the stunningly fine, Darlington Hall all dressed and decorated ready for Christmas.
Then we headed for a beautiful walk through the endless maze of outstanding gardens.
Now we weren’t inspecting much as it was winter, but, boy were we wrong. I who love gardens was thinking of giving the garden walk a miss, (as we had already done a forest walk through the deer par) but it was a true wonderland to explore.
Darlington Garden Estate has been evolving for around a thousand years. It is a Grade 2 listed garden which contains 1200 acres.
It was like stepping back in time into the Magic Garden. A green oasis of ancient trees, manicured tiered lawns, incredible dividing hedges, noble views of the estate house, twisted contorted tree trunks with window views, hobbit doors and fine sculptures and fountains.
There were many favourites as we walked through these gardens. We enjoyed watching a garden squirrel.
We were taken back by the mossy green velvet pathway which lead us into what I imagined was the garden from Beauty and the Beast. For only there would you find a tree in blossom with beautiful red rosy flowers in the middle of winter!!!
Another tranquil space was the tiny Church Chapel and graveyard.
On our way home we stopped in at Totnes which was over flowing with people as it was Market day.
I would describe Totnes as England’s Bryon Bay. A colourful historical town filled with creative arts. Except it has a lot of history and a castle.