Seeing the late-flowering daffodils in the lime avenue of Renishaw Hall gardens was a delightful surprise and I could have lingered there on the top lawn where there are many beautiful trees in blossom, the Waterloo oak planted in 1815 to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo, as well as the Gothic Temple and the 'Bothy' wall which is part of two old work men's cottages.
Apparently the Victorian statue, 'The Angel of Fame', was gilded by Lady Sitwell during a time in 2002 when she was doing a gilding course, which included items in the house.
The Gothic Temple was built in 1808 as a conservatory by Sir Sitwell Sitwell, later used as an aviary and is now a dog cemetery. A favoured breed is the daschund, which features on many an item in the house. However, it was a beautiful black Labrador dog that came and joined our party of visitors. (There's a relaxed atmosphere as one wanders around and all the staff are very helpful and informative, although it's not possible to take photos in the house).
A view from the Bothy
The South Front of the house with flower borders full of seasonal plants and the lawned areas of the formal gardens are of interest as well as a place to sit and relax. However, my aim was to see the woodlands and the bluebells so I headed for the Woodside, the new Woodland Garden and the Wilderness.
The gardens at Renishaw Hall were designed and created by Sir George Reresby Sitwell over the fifty years between 1886 and 1936 and further work was undertaken by the present owner's parents.
Sir George's garden was once bounded by a chestnut fence on the eastern side of the grounds with a wooden gate which was the entrance to the woodlands. (A painting by John Piper, one of many that can be seen in the house, shows the original gateway and statues of Warrior and Amazon that
still stand in place today)
Another entrance to the woods, where there is a beautiful camellia avenue, is situated on the Bottom Terrace. (camellia 'Donation' and camellia 'Lavinia Maggi)
There are many mature trees, more magnolias, a laburnum tunnel and classical features in the
Wilderness and Woodside with walks down to the lakes.
Magnolia 'Milky Way'
Down below me was the Gothic arch which was another subject that captured the imagination of the painter, John Piper, who called his painting 'Arch in the Ravine'. It was once the gatehouse to the entrance when the drive led straight over the River Rother. It was created by Sir Sitwell Sitwell, but was no longer needed when the bridge over the river collapsed and another driveway to the house was used.
The gardeners were busy at work - always plenty to do at any time of the year!
Another beautiful camellia
I didn't go down to the lake, but enjoyed the view from the Bottom Terrace.
I think the popular Rother Valley Country Park must be located somewhere in the area on the distant horizon with its man-made lakes created from the former quarries of the industrial era.
The Sitwells' monetary assets came from local ore and coal extraction on their land. Renishaw must have been an oasis in the middle of this major industrial scene and it's good that today this family home, the gardens and some of the grounds are open to the public for most of the year.