It's easy to lose all sense of time when you visit the gardens at Heale House in the beautiful Woodford Valley.
Trout swim in the stream that flows beneath a red Nikko bridge and thatched Japanese teahouse, bees buzz lazily through summer flowers, and robins perch on chair backs to study the thick slices of homemade cake being enjoyed in the tea room’s shady garden.
This peaceful, timeless setting is just 10 minutes away from Amesbury Abbey and a favourite place for our residents to while away a few hours on a sunny afternoon.
Heale House and its eight acres of gardens lie beside the river Avon at Middle Woodford, just north of Salisbury, and much of the house is unchanged since King Charles II secretly took refuge here for six nights before riding on to Shoreham where he took a ship to France.
The grounds are a paradise of exuberant planting and sparkling streams – tributaries of the River Avon that meander through the woodland garden.
The Rasch family has lived in the house for generations, and each has been inspired to leave their mark on the lovely gardens.
Early spring sees swathes of aconites and snowdrops carpeting the ground, and summer brings an explosion of exuberant planting, from fragrant roses and towering campanulas to decorative apple tree tunnels. Shady benches are perfectly placed to drink in the glowing colours.
The tearoom and plant centre are free to access, and entry to the main gardens is just £6 - £3 for children aged five to 16.
Due to the layout and age of the garden, roughly 70 per cent is accessible for wheelchair users.