Easton walled gardens
Easton Walled Gardens is the obvious starting point for your visit to us. With 12 acres of gardens to explore and friendly gardeners, an out of hours walk around the gardens is what makes staying with us so special. See the Gardens' website for more information, or have a look at the Gallery.
Many of our guests like to visit Geoff Hamilton's garden in Rutland. For many years it was the home of the BBC programme Gardener's World and has 38 different gardens to explore. They are full of inspiration for small and medium sized gardens and there is a nursery and tearoom attached.
Burghley Gardens of Surprise
If you like your gardens exciting, this garden is a water garden for enjoying! Features such as the moss house, the swivelling Caesar busts, basins of water, jets and the mirrored maze have been designed to be accessible to all regardless of age or interest, and are particularly enjoyable for the young or those young at heart who enjoy a paddle on a warm day. The adjoining landscape and sculpture gardens are also excellent.
Easton Walled Gardens is known nationally for its snowdrops and, if you visit in February or Early March, this is the time to see them at their best. Nearby Little Ponton Hall opens its lovely gardens for a weekend in February as does Chapel Street, Haconby, although at the time of writing it may not open in 2019. If it is open, you can find the details on the NGS website.
There are two romantic nurseries near us. Tim Rasell's Nursery, named, not surprisingly, Rasell's Nurseries in nearby Little Bytham is run by Tim and his family. Beautifully maintained with stunning pot displays in the summer, it is a good place to search out excellent garden plants. Thistleton Herb Nursery is also family run and if you love herbs and pelargoniums (and who doesn't) this is a magical place where all the stock in propagated in-house (which is extremely rare nowadays) and we never need an excuse to drop in when we pass the little sign on the main street in Thistleton.
With its gently rolling countryside and wooded lanes, wildlife sightings (even from the car) are a big part of what makes the Easton Estate and the surrounding villages, so interesting. Red Kites have established a stronghold here and other raptors include buzzards, kestrels, sparrowhawks and hobbies. Occasionally, you might spot a raven, an osprey, a peregrine falcon or a goshawk.
Hares are another big feature of our local landscape and Muntjac, Roe and Fallow Deer can be seen in the headlights at dusk as we return from The Cholmeley Arms. If you are interested in visiting nature reserves, we are at the heart of a band of limestone soil. Many of our best native wildflowers thrive on this soil and nowhere else and they bring with them bees and butterflies in abundance at the right time of year.
Barnack Hills and Hollows
The remnants of Roman works, the amazing flora here includes Pasqueflowers and Man Orchids. The nature reserve is a stronghold of the marbled white butterfly and is beautifully laid out for visitors. There is a thirty minute walk around the reserve. The reserve is just south of Stamford so makes a good detour before heading into the town for lunch or coffee.
Famous for its limestone quarries, the village of Ancaster has a pretty nature reserve run by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust and they have produced a pdf that you can download here showing the location and describing the woodland and grassland species that you might see. The walk includes a birdhide.
The Bird Reserve at Rutland Water
Just 20 minutes drive from Easton, the Bird Reserve at Rutland Water is home to Ospreys that come here every summer from Africa. There is so much to learn and see here and it is worth a visit all year round. Birds can be seen overwintering in winter, nesting in the spring and the arrival of the Ospreys is always a significant event at this internationally famous home for over 25,000 wildfowl. There are usually walks and talks on offer so it is worth finding out from their website what is going on before visiting. The Egleton centre is closer to us than the Lyndon site, which is on the far side of Rutland Water.
Here are some quick links to the rest of our local guide: