Buscot Park is routinely featured on lists of England’s best hidden gardens. And it is not surprising to see why. Although at 100 acres, it can hardly be considered hidden!
The country house was built in a neoclassical Italian style in 1780 by Edward Loveden Loveden. Originally born Edward Loveden Townsend, he changed his name by royal licence so that he could inherit the family property at Buscot; a condition imposed by his great-uncle.
The estate remained in the Loveden family until it was sold to Australian, Robert Tertius Campbell in 1859. On Campbell's death, in 1887, the house and its estate were sold to Sir Alexander Henderson a financier, later to be ennobled as Baron Faringdon. The 2nd Lord Faringdon carried out extensive renovations and alterations to the property in the 1930s and contributed significantly to the extensive art collection that remains on display. The house and estate was bequeathed to the National Trust in 1956. However, it continues to be lived in and managed by the current Lord Faringdon and his family. As such, it remains very much a family home.
BUSCOT PARK GARDENS
Originally laid out in the 1780s, Buscot Park is now considered to be one of the greatest 20th Century gardens in England and contains a woodland, lakes and formal gardens.
Much of the woodland was first planted by Campbell in the 19th Century. Today the woodland is dotted with roundels providing individual interest; a citrus garden, rose garden and swinging garden, connected by a series of patte d’oie avenues. Other woodland vistas lead to statues and monuments dotted in glades of rough grass; their formality contrasting with their informal natural setting.
The redundant kitchen garden contained within its octagonal brick walls has been transformed over the last 40 years by the present Lord Faringdon. Laid out in a quadrant separated by avenues of pleached hop hornbeam and Judas trees, the garden now reflects the four seasons with a statue of each in each quadrant. In June, the garden is perfumed with the scent of old French roses adding to the visual enchantment of the herbaceous planting. While gentle sounds of trickling water are provided by the central lily pond, completing this delightful sensory encounter.
Perhaps, Buscot’s most famous feature is the water gardens created by Edwardian architect Harold Peto in the early 20thCentury. A formal series of rills and fountains were created to connect Buscot house with the Big Lake laid out with the original 18th Century parkland. The vista continues beyond the water gardens to the domed temple on the far side of the lake, also created by Peto. The water gardens are glorious all year round, but particularly so in spring when the tapestry of fresh leaves on the trees hang overhead.
Buscot Park is another one of our favourite gardens here at Violets & Tea (yes, I know we have a fair few!). It is filled with so many extravagant and delightful features that make you exclaim out loud. Yet it feels very understated and not in the least pretentious. Glorious throughout the seasons, we would happily visit again and again and again…
We visit Buscot Park on our Cotswold Gardens in Colour tour in 2021.
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Images © Eliza Ford
Old Rectory, Farnborough