Iford Manor

By Emma Kirkup

I always love visiting Iford Manor’s Peto Garden, it’s a great place to enjoy some tranquillity and every time I make the descent into the village down the narrow country lane I am in awe of the views.

My last visit to the garden was in late spring last year, but interestingly with the warmer weather we’ve recently been having a lot of the same flowers were out. The beautiful wisteria which adorns the façade of the Manor was even beginning to bloom, something which it doesn’t usually do until May!

Wisteria, Iford Manor
 
I met with Marianne Cartwright-Hignett, one of the owners of Iford Manor. Marianne described with pleasure some of the history of the manor, including the fact that it used to be an old woollen mill in times gone by, something I hadn’t realised before and you wouldn’t really know on an initial glance at the buildings.

Blossom, Iford Manor

Bluebells

The sun was shining as I began to explore the gardens, the cherry blossoms were out and dropping petals like confetti in the spring breeze, bluebells were adorning the woodland floor and bees were buzzing around the flowers collecting nectar. 

Marianne showed me the rose garden, where they have been trying to reintroduce roses that were planted here by Harold Peto when he first established the gardens. I can imagine in late May that these will look stunning!

Japanese garden, Iford Manor

I then went for a wander by myself, stopping at the Japanese garden to admire the water features, heading into the Cloister and following cobbled pathways. 

Although it’s not a large garden here, there are so many nooks and crannies; every visit I make unveils something I haven’t seen before!

The Cloisters

The Peto Garden

This was also my first visit with my ‘posh’ camera as opposed to just my phone, so I was busy filling up my memory card with lots of photos. 

The Walled Garden

Once I’d finished snapping away, Marianne took me over the road to the Walled Garden. This garden isn’t usually opened to the general public unless for a pre-arranged group tour. It’s where the family go to find a spot of tranquillity in the peak season, and is less formal than the Peto garden. 

Here you have the chance to see behind-the-scenes at Iford including the potting sheds, mosaics produced by Marianne’s mother-in-law and the quirky puzzle garden. There are also some fantastic topiary sculptures including squirrels, a sofa and even a TV! If there’s a group of you interested in visiting then it’s certainly worth asking them about this. 

Topiary

If you fancy a different type of out of hours visit then don’t forget to check out the annual Iford Arts Festival which takes place in the Peto Gardens. Featuring jazz, classical music and opera in this stunning setting! 

Thanks also to Marianne for telling me about the Iford cider that they’ve produced from apples in the garden’s orchard. I’ll have to try some soon! 

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Iford Manor Gardens
Garden
Iford Manor Gardens

Breathtakingly pretty 18th century manor surrounded by award-winning Italianate gardens.

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