As the recent and very sad fire damage of Clandon House has shown, the treasures protected for us by the National Trust are not here forever and we should take advantage of them when we can. It was with this in mind that I re-visited Hinton Ampner in Bramdean, Hampshire – one of my very favourite Trust properties – not this time to visit the house, but instead, to walk around the grounds on a bluebell hunt.
If you haven’t visited before however, do go and see the ground floor rooms of this beautiful property – they are currently redoing the roof so the house is covered in scaffolding but this doesn’t distract from the contents or from the noted formal gardens.
However as this was a Bank Holiday treat for my dog, this part of the estate was barred to four legged friends!
Instead, with faithful Hound by my side, we headed past the church and in the direction of the avenues of beech trees which – all the walkers returning, passing us by, kept telling us also featured a magnificent carpet of bluebells.
And so indeed it did. Very different to the bluebell walk of Hatchlands and Little Wix Wood which we visited last year – with towering avenues of beech trees as far as the eye could see, all featuring an intense carpet of vibrant blue. It seemed to go on for miles too – so if you love bluebells, this is definitely the place for you.
Key tip – Do pick up an ordnance survey print out when you go via the visitor centre because well meaning locals pointed us in completely the wrong direction – slightly irritating and rather exhausting so trust the map not verbal directions! Or print out the Dutton Estate walk from the website. Formal walk approximately four miles (6.4km).
Contributor & photographer: Sue Lowry
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