It’s a pity we couldn’t stay longer. Lytes Cary was a stop-off point on the way through Somerset. It’s one of the National Trust’s smaller properties and delightful, but the walks around the estate are longer than anticipated. We needed to be back in Cornwall by a certain time but can never resist visiting a National Trust property whenever we can.

I was quite envious of a woman who appeared to be everywhere leisurely soaking up the ambience. In the café, on garden benches, sat drawing and writing with an air of reflectiveness.

Through the first gateway, the meadow is a bees’ paradise. Pale purple wood anemones glow beside daffodils fit for a William Wordsworth poem amid long grass sweeping to the walled garden. The ornamental lawns and topiary shrubs leading up to the five-hundred-year-old manor house, with its sapphire and amber stained glass chapel, create a fairy-tale setting.

It was all owned initially by the Lyte family but fell into neglect in the 18th century. Thankfully, it was transformed back to its former glory by the Jenner Family in 1907. When Sir Walter and Lady Flora Jenner arrived, the building was being used as a store, but they renovated it to incorporate its historic features and added another wing. The rooms are wood-panelled and fairly dark, but the furniture and art produce a homely feel.

Back to the outside – the original gardens were ruined but were rearranged to an Arts and Craft Style. They are divided by neat hedges and stone walls, where each rectangular space sets a different mood. There are plenty of spots to investigate, including a croquet lawn. And best of all, a fountain sparkles and tinkles in the lavender garden.

The herb borders are brimming with plants, and I wonder if the renowned Medieval herbalist who lived in Lytes Cary would be impressed by today’s stock. Henry Lyte published the Niewe Herball in 1578. There is even a historical fiction story written about him which I’m looking forward to reading called, The Knot, by Jane Borodale. Just my kind of book, and Lytes Cary is just my kind of place.

It seems that it must be the mysterious woman’s too. As we left, she was in the flower meadow, engrossed as she scribbled keenly in her notebook, captivated by the surroundings.

Until next time,
Sue. X