Tour of Houses in Berkshire

Saturday 12 July 2003

An early start at Folly Farm saw us welcomed by Sir Desmond Pitcher who guided us around the house and provided refreshments before we explored the formal gardens and enjoyed the vistas of the house with its sweeping roofs and colossal chimneys. We then toured the walled kitchen garden and the greenhouses with their gold medal-winning plants. We also had the opportunity to view the interior and exterior of a Lutyens cottage on the estate.

After a first-class lunch at the Spring Inn we drove to Sonning to visit Deanery Garden, designed for Edward Hudson the creator of Country Life. This “secret” house and garden hidden behind its old brick wall with its modest entrance is familiar to many of us through the pages of Country Life. We were shown around this romantic house with its great oak pieces set in the chalk walls and the double-height hall with its great oriel window. This was indeed a dream house, the second one of the day. Tea, in that wonderful garden, courtesy of our host brought to a close for some, a perfect summer’s day made possible by the generosity of the owners and the hard work and dedication of the organiser, Gavin Chappell. The diehards went on to St. Mary’s Wargrave to view the exquisite columbarium designed for the Hannen family and the War Memorial.