24th February 2012

Doddington Place Gardens, nr Sittingbourne, Kent

First visit under the current arrangement with the Historic Houses Association to provide health and safety advice to their members. A long journey to the south of England is made easier and more comfortable by the adjacency of the terminals in London, from the busy building site of King's Cross to the large, spacious retail emporium of St. Pancras next door, and by the subsequent uncrowded journey on high speed train through the Thames marshes and into the Kent countryside.

The property itself opens its garden regularly to visitors throughout the season, although the house is private and not open. History and opening details are here. There are several different parts of the garden, with spring garden, woodland walks, rock garden, and sunken garden. Early spring flowers and daffodils were appearing. The garden is notable for its high yew hedges. Hedge trimming is an interesting logistical exercise, although those at Powis Castle (NT) created greater difficulty by virtue of the steep slopes and terraces which made use of mobile elevating work platforms more problematic, whereas here, the terrain is generally flat and level.

An interesting and enjoyable visit, hopefully providing the owner with the pragmatic, proportionate and balanced advice he needed.

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