Maoris and a secret garden

IMG_0200As new members of the National Trust, we’ve recently explored the Natural Play Trail at Box Hill and discovered fairies in Haughley Park’s bluebell wood.

Just a short drive away from Hatchlands is Clandon Park – a Palladian mansion created to entertain and impress by the politically powerful Onslow family. It contains a superb collection of 18th-century furniture, porcelain and textiles, much of which was acquired by the connoisseur Mrs Gubbay. The Surrey Infantry Museum provides a rich account of the county’s military history.

Given it was a clear day and we had a tired toddler in tow, we opted to save surveying the inside the mansion IMG_0256for another day. Not to say we couldn’t enjoy a nice relaxing meal in the restaurant before setting off to exploring the wider parkland.

The seven acres of gardens are home to a small parterre, a walled Dutch Garden and Hinemihi, a Maori meeting house brought back from New Zealand in 1892.

Hinemihi is the only historic Maori meeting house in the UK and one of a handful outside New Zealand. It bears the name of a female tribal ancestor referred to as ‘she’. She was carved in the shadow of volcanic Mt Tarawera in North Island close to Rotorua.

IMG_0235An outdoor exhibition of giant photographs was on show in the gardens. It focused on the beautiful landscape and wildlife of New Zealand. POD was delighted to see a photograph of a goat – otherwise known as a moose. She learnt fir cones don’t taste very nice.

Huia’s Dell, the children’s area, was a great place for POD to play closely followed by the running away from her parents game. Clandon Park also offered a flint grotto and we walked through an avenue of trees to a beautiful church. The nearby meadow was just a sea of daffodils.

The fabulous Dutch Garden was originally modelled on the Sunken Garden at Hampton Court. It was clandon 3overgrown, covered in thick undergrowth and had a yew hedge of over 30ft high. That was until a National Trust employee came across it in 1971. Today, the garden is centred around a small statue in a circular pool, with clipped hedges and topiary.

What an incredible find that must have been, discovering a secret garden hidden behind an enormous hedge.

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18 comments

  1. Wow what a beautiful and interesting place to visit and explore. The Maori meeting house looks in excellent condition as are all of the gardens, your pictures are beautiful and POD looks so cute. Thanks for sharing with Country Kids.

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    • Thank you Fiona – it’s a fabulous place, just up the road from fairies in the bluebell wood at Hatchlands :)

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  2. This looks fab Charly I love the picture of POD peering into the fountain xx

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  3. Gorgeous pictures. Looks like a fun day out.

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    • Thanks Laura, it’s a fabulous place. We loved the Maori house and the secret garden :)

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  4. Beautiful pictures, I love them all but had a real smile at POD tasting the fir cone. Her coat is gorgeous too. The garden is stunning, isn’t it fantastic that they found it and now everyone can share it, just beautiful x

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    • Thank you so much for such lovely comments Nichola, it’s a great place. I love the history around the garden – amazing! POD didn’t enjoy her fir cone much :)

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  5. Looks like a wonderful place to visit! x

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    • Thanks Charlotte – it was just lovely :)

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  6. The photos of your little one are just beautiful. Definitely gonna give this place a visit.

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    • Thank you Leila, do visit it’s a great place :)

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  7. What a find, what a gorgeous place to visit. Your pictures of Pod are gorgeous – love the one of the pine one – Pod and Cone – that could be a name of a pub!

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    • Thank you so much. Loving the idea of the Pod and Cone :)

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  8. what a magical place! your little girl is beautiful. love her coat

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    • It’s a great place Claudia, our toddler had a whale of a time too! Coat is Monsoon :)

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