Monday, 08 August 2022

Reports from latest meetings and activities of clubs and community groups

ON the surprisingly cool and cloudy morning of July 11, a coachload of members went to visit the house and gardens of Woburn Abbey, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Bedford.

Driving through Bedfordshire, we were able to appreciate the beauty of the rolling English countryside.

This was even more dramatic as we entered the vast estate of Woburn Abbey, landscaped by Humphrey Repton, a disciple of Capability Brown in the mid-18th century, with vast vistas and lakes.

Before reaching the abbey, we were treated to a slow drive through a deer park with fallow and red deer and seven varieties of Asian deer all very much at home.

Getting off the coach and being welcomed by one of the staff, it was surprisingly cold but within a couple of hours of our arrival the sun came out.

We were allowed to wander through the house and grounds at will without any guide so some opted to see the gardens before an excellent lunch in the Duchess’s tea room, while others explored the magnificent house first.

We were told that Woburn is one of the most visited grand country houses in England and it is easy to see why.

One of the main attractions this year is the exhibition of nearly 700 of Repton’s drawings, sketches and albums that were produced for numerous clients.

Called Humphrey Repton: Art and Nature for the Duke of Bedford, the exhibition celebrates the bicentenary of his death.

Repton is mainly remembered for his intricate and less formal natural gardens which we enjoyed.

Anyone who saw the BBC’s Gardener’s World the following evening would have been treated to what we saw.

The society’s programme consists of fortnightly lectures between September and April, interspersed with a variety of visits, the next one being to one of the National Trust’s great gardens, Stourhead in Wiltshire, on September 27.

Meetings are held on Wednesday evenings in the hall attached to Caversham Heights Methodist Church in Highmoor Road. Coffee is served from 7pm and the talks begin at 8pm.

Our next season begins on September 5 with a short annual meeting followed by a talk on “The modern NHS”.

Visitors and new members are always welcome. For more information, email or visit www.cavershamheights

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