Sunday, 9 June 2019

Iford Manor, Bradford-on-Avon

The origins of the manor date back to the 15th century, but the handsome classical Georgian facade was added during 1730. The woodlands to the rear of the manor were planted at the end of the 18th century, and now form the perfect backdrop to Edwardian Garden Designer Harold Peto's magical garden.

A statue of Britannia surmounts the ancient bridge.

Sitting on the southerly slopes of the Frome Valley, Iford Manor enjoys views across the river and over to the far side of this beautiful valley.
This setting is where Harold Peto designed and developed his own garden during the 34 year period that he lived in the Manor. A garden that expresses his great love of Italy and all things Italian, but which also blends in seamlessly with its English surroundings and countryside. 
Harold Peto was an Arts and Crafts architect and one of the great landscape designers of his period, an exponent of the ultra-romantic Italianate style so fashionable during the first two decades of the twentieth century. He bought Iford Manor in 1899 and lived there until his death in 1933. 
Wherever you are in the garden there are splendid vistas and views across the valley.

Once a year on a summer evening Iford holds an intimate opera within these cloisters for just 80 people who are seated on all four sides.
The cloisters along with most features within the garden are made from antique architectural fragments that Peto purchased and collected in Italy over a period of many years following his frequent visits there. 
Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia. For he whom thou didst deserve to bear, alleluia. 
These angels are holding the words of a Catholic prayer - which then continues.....
Is risen again as He said, Alleluia. Pray for us to God, Alleluia.


The stone garden house is an original Georgian one that was already in the garden. Harold Peto relocated it to the end of his Great Terrace where it acts as an eye catcher.
Steps lead on up from the Great Terrace
to a small Japanese style garden hidden away in the woods.
Lush planting complimented by all of the antique stoneware on The Great Terrace creates a visual feast. 















42 comments:

  1. That is wonderful Rosemary. Thank you.

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  2. Lovely Rosemary.
    I'm very taken with the stone house and the end of the path, the journey to it is very nice.

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    1. I love that area of the garden and personally think that it is a perfect example of great garden design.

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  3. This is a lovely place, well worthy of your visit I am sure. Harold Peto could scarcely have imagined that his influence would last so long and provide such enjoyment for many generations to come. I suspect that he would have been very pleased with you, Rosemary, making it known throughout the world. The fact of the forest surviving is cause for great satisfaction,

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    1. Harold Peto was a very eminent Edwardian Garden Designer and the garden at Iford is Grade l listed; you credit me with too much influence, this garden is highly acclaimed in numerous widely circulated books and known to garden lovers everywhere.

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  4. Iford Manor is more than just a wonderful garden and house in a stupendously beautiful location, it is a magical place from the car park by the river in the old orchard upwards. The owners, two (or possibly three!) generations of the same family, are are really lovely people too. It could not have fallen into better hands. Your visit should end with a cream tea including the best homemade cake in the area. You could spend quite a few blissful hours here on a warm summer afternoon.

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    1. I agree with everything you have said. Are you going to be working there?

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    2. Yes, but I meant everything I said too.

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    3. Just take care when you are travelling down that narrow road, some of those passing places are an absolute nightmare.

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    4. I was driving down the main lane one Winter on a steep slope toward the bridge and found myself sliding on thick ice. A car at the bottom thought I was driving aggressively and refused to get out of my way. I hit the horn and the lights and kept on coming at him until he understood at the last moment. Almost.

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  5. How lucky we are to live in a country with so many wonderful gardens which are open to the public. And so many different styles of garden too. I love the way that the plants are invading the architecture here.

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    1. The flower scheme is simple but very effective and as you mention it compliments the architecture too.

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  6. How wonderful it is that you share such beauty with us.

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  7. Two thoughts ran through my mind: the need to be creative in hardscaping and the value of opportunities to stroll. Tom's comment on the cream tea prompts me to relate the little game we played on our recent trip to the UK. We began to rate eating establishments on the quality of their scones, an excuse to indulge in cream teas at every opportunity. The best in our opinion, was Ginny's Teapot in Hawkshead in the Lake District.

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    1. To me the most important thing when starting a garden is to get the hard landscape in at the beginning and then everything flows on from there.
      Hope you didn't return home with too much weight gain from eating all of those cream teas!

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  8. Beautiful location. I've always enjoyed exploring wonderful gardens and villages but most of my (male) friends can't get out of them fast enough as a mere shortcut into the mountains- a proper masculine pursuit. Colours, lush foliage and beautiful settings satisfy me these days rather than bare, frozen summits devoid of most wildlife.

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    1. This garden is certainly lush, and there is a certain amount of climbing involved too but manageable.

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  9. What a magical place! Soooo beautiful....
    Love from Titti

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  10. This is one of my favorite places I found on this blog. I love this type of architecture made of stone, which is nicely landscaped with such a fascinating gardens and backdrop forests. The entrance to the garden is so charming. Your photos showed us what magical scenery will unfold before the visitors’ eyes one after another. I liked it when Japanese garden existed unpretentiously. Otherwise it couldn’t have been in harmony with the rest of the places with Italian touch.

    Yoko

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    1. Dear Yoko - that is such a kind comment which I really appreciate - thank you. You are totally correct about the Japanese 'style' garden - it is really just a salute to Japan and not representative of a real Japanese garden.

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  11. How absolutely delightful! Your post is a real treat to read and such stunning photos. I love these sort of gardens when there's always something more splendid through this gate and around that corner and up those steps! Best, Jane x

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    1. If ever you are close to Bath Jane then I would really recommend that you try and visit this beautiful garden. It is just like popping over to Italy for a few hours and especially so when it is warm and the sun is shining brightly.

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  12. WOW! This is an extraordinary beautiful place! I would love to visit there! Your photos are marvelous!

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    1. I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing Iford Yael.

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  13. What a beauty , the different kind of garden styles combine so well with with the lushness of the planting , I do feel 'at home' in Italy looking at this wonderful place.

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    1. I have only been in this garden once before and that was about 20 years ago. I remember that we had just been staying Italy and it felt has if we had returned.

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  14. Hello Rosemary, Iford Manor shows a third possibility when collecting architectural fragments. The Soane house displays a dumbfounding, dense, yet extremely interesting collection. Hearst's San Simeon shows an impressive display of color and wealth. Peto, however, uses the fragments with an artist's eye to create an oasis of calm and beauty.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - those are three very interesting comparisons, all unique and a delight to visit. I know Sir John Soane's house, but would love to visit Hearst's enchanted hill-top retreat, and wonder if it is somewhere that you have been?

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  15. Dearest Rosemary,
    What a lovely garden at Iford Manor in Bradford-on-Avon!
    You are so lucky for living near such beauty and for viewing it at the right time when the gardens show their peak.
    Sending you hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - I love everything about this garden together with the beautiful setting in the valley, and the fine stone manor house.

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  16. I will steal your words “ it’s a visual feast “.

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  17. Wonderful place, amazing garden.
    All photos are beautiful, but the last one, the photo of the flower is spectacular.
    Have a nice Sunday
    Maria
    Divagar Sobre Tudo um Pouco

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    1. Thank you Maria - so pleased that you enjoyed them.

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