During my tour of Devon, I couldn’t wait to visit Castle Drogo. The last time I was here was in 1978 so it was a treat to return.
Castle Drogo is at Drewsteignton near Exeter. It’s 5 miles south of A30: take A382 towards Moretonhampstead and turn off at Sandy Park – there are signs to Castle Drogo from there. But be warned! The roads are narrow and twisty and not suitable for motorhomes longer than 10.5 metres or wider than 2.39 metres. There’s a car park about 400 yards from the entrance.
There are magnificent views from the Castle over Dartmoor – as Christopher Hussey wrote: ‘the ultimate justification of Drogo is that it does not pretend to be a castle. It is a castle, as a castle is built, of granite, on a mountain, in the twentieth century’.
The Bunty House even have its own garden!
The castle was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens who also designed the layout of the terrace garden to the east of the house. The scheme included a rill, pools and a circular lawn but was abandoned by Julius Drewe as he felt the site could be seen by the servants’ quarters. A new plan was drawn up by George Dillistone for a more secluded site to the west of the Castle.
This is one of my favourite pics of the garden – tulips in front of the Parrotia Persica arbours – commonly known as the Ironwood Tree – surrounded by the clipped yew hedge.
Drewe’s second son, Basil, added the magnificent Rhododendron Walk which lies below the Terrace.
The History of Castle Drogo
The castle was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens between 1911 and 1930 for Julius Drewe, founder of the Home and Colonial Stores; Drewe died a year after it was finished. Drewe’s eldest son had been killed in 1917 so Castle Drogo was inherited by his second son Basil in 1931. It remained in the Drew family until 1974 when Anthony Drew and his son Dr Christopher Drewe gave it to the National Trust along with 600 acres. The National Trust is currently restoring the Castle.
As with most National Trust properties, there is a cafe and shop on site.