The bridge at Iford Manor

By Theresa Hopwood

Having recently participated in a photographic course I have been keen to find the time to try out my new skills, and move the dial on my camera from the “auto” setting! My daughter is slightly more advanced than me so was the perfect companion for an afternoon playing with cameras.

Not far from Bradford on Avon is the beautiful Iford Manor and Peto Garden, a great playground for these two wannabe David Baileys! Whilst the Manor is private, the Grade 1 Italianate garden, designed at the turn of the 20th century by Harold Ainsworth Peto and featuring imaginative planting, steps, terraces, sculptures and magnificent rural views, is open to the public from April to October.

The cameras were out before we left the car park as the scenic river, stone bridge and grazing sheep were just too picturesque to ignore. Once inside the garden we were overwhelmed by the opportunities at every turn for a magnificent photo composition, from statues and pools to breath-taking landscapes. We certainly got the chance to push our skills to the limit from macro images to sweeping panoramas.

The spring flowers were in abundance, bluebells, daffodils and wild garlic, amongst others that we couldn’t identify. The varied shapes and colours of the trees provide interest in their own right. Climbing up the steep terraces at the top of the garden reveals hidden statues and follies which were delighting the families also visiting.

Peto Gardens

Having spent a very relaxing couple of hours crouching, kneeling and stretching to get the best shot, we were ready for refreshments, and headed for the tearoom. Tables are set in a pretty courtyard with shell mosaic pictures decorating the walls, and fresh flowers on the tables. Tea is taken seriously here, they import and blend, supplying hotels and restaurants and selling online. I opted for the House Blend while Sophie went for the Masala Chai, a delicious fragrant tea with hints of ginger and cardamom. Accompanied by beautiful light scones, jam and clotted cream, we enjoyed some late afternoon sun and compared our pictures, a very enjoyable way to end a lovely afternoon.

I look forward to visiting again later in the summer, when the trees are in leaf, and the seasonal flowers are in full bloom, and again later in the year to see the autumn colours. By that time I hope to have mastered all the settings on my camera.

Iford Manor

Peto Gardens

Capturing the Peto Gardens

Peto Gardens, Iford Manor

Iford, Wiltshire




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