The Abbey Grounds
The grounds cover a little over four acres. The perimeter is marked by old stone walls, dead hedging & wooden fencing.
The entrance drive has an avenue of lime trees, which scent the air beautifully with their flowers in spring. There is a wonderful plane tree on the north lawn surrounded by daffodils. Walks here take you through rhododendrons, field maple, bramble, ash, beech, sycamore, oak, ivy & various conifers. The field maple in particular has marvelous gnarled bark.
There are laurel bushes, winter flowering viburnums, snowberry, young Japanese cherry & maples, whose autumn colour is stunning.
Around the Abbey building we have many different plants in the flower beds including fuschia, lavender, periwinkle, Siberian bugloss, sage, curry plants, catnip, rosemary, winter jasmine & spirea. There is a herb bed near the kitchen underneath a lovely silver birch.
We have kept the trunk & several large branches from an old copper beech where fungi & lichens are now making their home.
With all our mature trees & shrubs we are blessed with free kindling for the many fires we have and a purpose built woodstore nestling under trees.
The Abbey has mature evergreen oak, yew, oak, beech & mulberry trees together with a superb cedar of Lebanon. The London plane tree on the west lawn is magnificent.
The south lawn has a young redwood & several varieties of apple and plum trees. We also have use of a small secluded orchard adjacent to the grounds.
The walled kitchen garden is the warmest outdoor space on a sunny day. In here there is a wildflower meadow, a cut flower bed, a strawberry bed, trees including olive, fig, morello cherry, damson, plums, pear, quince & greengages. Vegetables grown here include leeks, courgettes, maize, artichokes, chard, kale, marrows, pumpkins, carrots & potatoes. We have a lovely greenhouse where we grow winter rocket, parsley & coriander. Around the walls there are many shrubs including buddleia, dogwoods, musk mallow, purple elder and philadelphus.
Our guesthouse area benefits from ivy, yew, apple, spindle, elder & wayfaring trees together with many climbing roses, rosemary, sage & ferns.
There are many sheltered spots to enjoy especially the courtyard garden which has a fig tree, magnolia, roses and a medieval style herb and flower bed surrounded by mature box hedging.
The grounds are visited by many animals including hedgehogs, grey squirrels, foxes, muntjac deer, shrews, voles, woodmice and toads.
We have mason bees, honey bees (and hives), many species of moth, butterflies, shield bugs, ladybirds, ants, spiders, cockchafers, crickets, damselflies, dragonflies, pipistrelle and serotine bats and a sighting of a very rare rugged oil beetle
Birds that visit & enjoy the lack of human disturbance in the grounds are buzzards, red kites, jackdaws, crows, jays, tawny owls, mallards, mistle thrushes, song thrushes, woodpigeons, stock doves, collared doves, sparrowhawks, starlings, green woodpeckers, great spotted woodpeckers, nuthatches, treecreepers, wrens, robins, blackbirds, great tits, coal tits, blue tits, long tailed tits, goldfinches, chaffinches, greenfinches, redwing, pied wagtails, magpies, blackcaps & chiffchaff.