I set off early on the Saturday of the Bank Holiday weekend to visit gardens in Devon. The weather was glorious and with surprisingly little traffic, I arrived just as the gardens at Knightshayes were opening.

Facade of House with central pool in foreground leading to terraces and the house

From Salisbury, drive down A303 and join M5 towards Exeter. Leave at J27 on A361 signposted to Tiverton/Barnstaple and then take A3126/A396, Bolham Road. After a short while, turn into Lea Road and Bolham Lane is on your left – follow the brown tourist signs to Knightshayes as Sat Nav can send you the wrong way.

View of the house from the terrace

Before heading to the House and Terrace, visit the magnificent Walled Garden which is to the left of the stable block. [For more information on the Walled Garden, read my article on Walled Gardens]

Blackboard with welcome to the Walled Kitchen Garden
Walled Garden with vegetables growing
                                               Walled Garden
Walled Garden with veg growing
                                               Walled Garden

It’s a short walk from here to the House. The Terrace runs in front of the house where there are magnificent views over the garden towards the hills


View from house towards small round pond and views of hills beyond

while to your left, is a series of garden rooms.

Terrace with entrances to the different garden rooms
Brick path flanked by flower beds with lead container at end overflowing with tulips
Edge of pond with statue

The path leads on to the Woodland Garden

Woodland Garden
Grass path through woodland garden

The History of Knightshayes

Knightshayes was bought by John Heathcote Amory, a Tiverton lace manufacturer in 1867. He commissioned William Burges to design a new house which was completed by 1872. Edward Kemp advised on the outer landscape as well as designing terraces, topiary, gravel walks, rose garden, an American Garden and the layout of the kitchen garden. Further work was carried out in the twentieth century with the help of Lanning Roper. Roper created a new garden within the Bowling Green while the American Garden was transformed into the Azalea Garden. On Sir John Heathcote Amory’s death in 1972, Knightshayes Court was given to the National Trust with part of the parkland.

There are over 1200 plant species in the formal and woodland garden that can only be found here – it’s one of the biggest variety of plant collections in the UK.

View from the terrace over the parkland
Summer house on the lower terrace
                                                         Summer House
Stone Bench at end of lower terrace
Detail from middle of stone bench of cherub writing
Yellow and red tulips flowering
View over parkland with individual trees and wood



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