Source: Wikimedia Commons
At Hestercombe Gardens they have been rebuilding some of the eighteenth century features. So for example, it is now possible to admire a 1996 replica of the 1770s replica of a Tuscan Doric temple. The landscape garden was designed by the owner of Hestercombe, Coplestone Warre Bampfylde, between 1750 and 1786. It is an anthology of eighteenth century themes – a Great Cascade, a Gothic Alcove, a Witch House and a Temple Arbour – but with some very beautiful views both within the garden and out to the Vale of Taunton. When we visited we stood for some time admiring the sunlit Box Pond, humming with dragonflies and reflecting the surrounding wooded slopes. There was a small group of people sitting on the opposite bank who we assumed were sketchers, but who turned out to be having a break from work renovating the garden. This misconception felt a bit like a lesson in the perils of the picturesque… but it was hardly a glimpse of what John Barrell would call the ‘dark side of the landscape’: the labourers we saw looked like volunteers having a thoroughly rewarding time bringing the old garden back to life.