Covering 50 acres, Hestercombe is an unique opportunity to experience three centuries of garden design.
Start your journey in the 18th century with the Landscape Garden. Discover the Box Pond and the Pear Pond, the Great Cascade and numerous garden buildings including the Gothic Alcove, the Temple Arbour, the Mausoleum and the Witch House. Dr Langbourne, a friend of Bamfylde’s wrote: ‘O’er Bampfield’s wood, by various nature grac’d, / A witch presides! – but then that witch is TASTE.’
Explore the 20th century formal gardens near the house with their rills, terrace, roses and the Great Plat – a sunken parterre with geometric borders edged with stone. One side of the parterre is enclosed by a Pergola which links the Plat to the wider landscape and the breathtaking views over the Vale of Taunton Dean.
Don’t miss the Orangery. Designed by Edwin Lutyens it is one of the most beautiful garden buildings of the 19th century.
Hestercombe is run by the Hestercombe Gardens Trust.
In 1718, Sir John La Warre died and having no sons, Hestercombe was inherited by his daughter Mary, wife of John Bampfylde.
Their son, Coplestone Warre Bampfylde inherited the property in 1750 and created the Landscape Garden. Peppered with buildings including the Octagon Summerhouse, the Chinese Seat and the Valley of Cascades it was described by Arthur Young in 1770 as: ‘a rural sequestered vale with wood, much of the ground wild and romantic; Mr Bampfield has filled this canvas in a manner that does honour to his taste’.
In 1872, the estate was sold to 1st Viscount Portman. Portman extended the house and in 1904 commissioned Edwin Lutyens to design the Formal Garden with planting schemes by Gertrude Jekyll.
Hestercombe was sold in 1944 to the Crown Estate. It became the headquarters of the Somerset Fire Brigade in 1952 who, on discovering some of Jekyll’s plans in the potting shed, began re-planting the Great Plat.
In 2003, Somerset County Council transferred the property to the Hestercombe Gardens Trust who have carried out an extensive restoration project.