Out beyond the aconites and through the woodland gate. Between the avenue of trees, along the straight wide path, people walked in the grey shade. Everywhere around our feet, as far as the eye could see, showers of snowdrops shone white above wet grass.
Winter trees laced the sky above our heads....
...while brown, last-summer`s leaves and spiky chestnut husks littered the ground beneath.
Tall pines stretched skywards.......
....but the greatest fun came with the squish and splash of patterned mud where wide and heavy tyres had been..
Red barked young acers shone against dark green ......
....and everywhere the snowdrops shone, on banks, across the grass and under trees.
The Japanese Tea Garden, sheltered in a valley, waited for cherry blossom and the softness of spring.
Into the woods we walked, past rotting tree stumps and young saplings.
Green bamboo shone tall and nearly golden in the sun.
Hazel trees shook out their lambs tail catkins.....
...and we had found a mouse hole in the grass.
By the gate into the lane, wild clematis, the Old Man`s Beard, climbed with grey feathered seed into a hazel tree.
Red bricked Estate Cottages lined the quiet lane.......
....and through another gate, the Kitchen Garden waited for another year of growth. Raised beds, well manured, lay ready for sowing and planting on warmer days.
Kuhn Kuhn pigs rooted up old grassland in readiness for planting, and a family of Gloucester Old Spot Pigs were working another field.
This year, the National Trust is converting this land into eighty new allotments, so that keen local gardeners can grow their own fruit and vegetables here, where food for the "Big House" at Kingston Lacy was once grown.
So many people now want to grow food on allotments that the waiting list for established plots, in local towns and villages, can be years long. Enabling more people to use the Kingston Lacy land is sure to be popular. It would be good to return to see how well the new allotments grow.
The Victorian cold frames wait to be used again.
A terrace of workers cottages where the estate gardeners once lived.
Sam, a dear old dog with deep brown eyes, made friends.
In the dipping sun, glass and tangled vines showed the promise of a grand old glass house that could grow food again when renovation is complete.
We crossed the lane, back into the woods, and walked around until we reached the old house once again.
Past the shepherd`s hut in the landscaped pasture.........
....to the fine front entrance of the house, where visitors had made their entrances for several hundred years.
It was time to leave. The last photograph shows the view from the front door of Kingston Lacy, down across wooded pasture and out along the straight gravel drive. It was almost evening when we drove away, out towards the Wimborne Road and home.