Strictly Come Dancing’s launch last month showed Saltram House and Gardens, where actor Greg Wise was introduced to his dancing partner, Karen Hauer. It’s the place where he and his wife Emma Thompson filmed Sense and Sensibility. And since that programme in September, I’ve longed to return, as I haven’t been back for a year or so because of Covid.

It reminds me of a fairy tale house. At present, the upper floor isn’t open, but the experience is still enchanting. It holds many happy memories, especially the festive season that we took our grandson to see a Cinderella-themed event which was magical.

Currently, Saltram’s most celebrated treasures are highlighted throughout the National Trust property, but first, Mr Word Loft and I started our tour at the Chapel Tearoom. I had been dreaming of the alternative to a cream tea. A cheese tea. I had sampled one with my family a few Mother’s Days ago, and as before, I wasn’t disappointed. In atmospheric surroundings too. Old fashioned music playing, accompanied by the chink of bone china; so divine.

Along a pathway at the back, there is a secluded and peaceful pond with a fountain. A tranquil corner to sit and contemplate. Back at the chapel’s doorway, the view is superb. Two sphinx sculptures reign at the side of the main house, distant countryside and parkland lie ahead, but to the right, the Orangery’s white and glass façade is alluring. Orange trees are potted and still on the pathways fronting it, I guess until frosty weather arrives, when they will be stored inside. The structure makes a unique venue and in the past, I’ve attended a writing open mic afternoon there.

Further on, a castle sits beside trees and shrubs. It’s quaint and rather small to be called a castle but was built as a folly on foundations dating prior to the 18th century building.

The grounds are full of fascinating features. A war memorial, Bobby’s grave, an old vehicle inspection pit, canons. Most spectacular is the amphitheatre designed to entertain folk on land and from the river. As in many ancestral homes, there is a fernery, but I prefer to see ferns in the summer. I don’t find the broken stems and faded leaves so becoming as the plants change to bracken in autumn.

The duck pond sits in its pretty setting with waterfowl splashing over it. It’s difficult to envisage the beautiful pool as it was originally intended, for carts and carriages to drive through to cleanse them of mud. And there was me thinking the car wash was a modern invention. My, how I was mistaken!

Until next time,
Sue. X