This is somewhere that I've often walked past during my visits to Sidmouth. I was quite intrigued by some of the features, notably the very old walls, and other interesting features that I could see in the distance. A week before Christmas in 2011 I had some time to kill whilst waiting for films to be processed, so I had a wander in. It was a very bright sunny day, with a low winter sun, which made for some rather nice sillouettes from this angle (above).
Not having seen this part by the entrance before, I was enchanted by the wonderfully quirky wall post in the photo above. Rather grand gates, below, with some lovely pineapple finials upon the posts. Interestingly to me, a pineapple was part of the heraldic shield of one of my ancestors called Apperley!
On researching it's history, I found out that it was once the gardens of Blackmore House, which previously stood near by...not to be confused with the Blackmore House at the end of May Terrace, as the original Blackmore House is no more. The gardens were taken over by the Urban District Council in 1952 and subsequently became a public park, which explains why there are some remains of it's former existence.
Looking from the other side of the gates, below, I was rather pleased to capture a seagull in the photo...even though it looks more like a flying handkerchief! Palms aren't indigenous to Britain, but we do have a lot of them on the South-West peninsular as the climate is sub-tropical, having come from those intrepid Victorians who brought seeds and plants back from their travels abroad. Palms thrive here and are very much a part of our townscape.
Another palm, below, growing from a root ball which looks like a giant pine cone. I suspect that the tiles are part of the original garden, and make a lovely seating area.
Next to that is a glasshouse. From the outside it looks like a modern conservatory that often gets tacked onto the back of houses to create an extra room. Inside however, it's rather lovely with it's tiled floor and interesting plants.
A rather nice eye-catcher is the piece of rock standing in a pond.
Another view of the stone, below.
Just outside, which can be seen through the window below, is a fab little corner made to look like a cottage garden. Unfortunately, my photo close up didn't come out well enough to show the details. I'll take another one when I go back, which I mean to do as there are other areas to explore and other pics that I didn't have time to take during that visit.
Below is a wonderful avenue of pleached trees. Pleaching is a technique of weaving the branches of trees together to form a hedge. I'm glad I saw them in the winter, as they made such lovely shapes with their bare branches.
Below, looking through the branches.
Another original remain is this delightful wall, below. As well as recreational, the gardens were originally for produce too, and I suspect that this type of wall may have been used for training fruit trees against, notably peach and plum.
And finally, a look across the lawn with the wintry shadows of the trees. An altogether enjoyable visit, and one which many Sidmouthians enjoy during their lunch breaks, as well as it's use during the famous Sidmouth Folk Festival and other events. Personally, I love it quiet like this, but it must be fun with outdoor music and dancing too...something to remember in the Summer, when I might make a point of joining in!
More piccies can be seen in the Photo Gallery album, along with these.