Wimpole Estate and Home Farm
A visit to Cambridgeshire meant an opportunity to visit Wimpole Estate, somewhere I had been really keen to visit after reading all the publicity surrounding My Farm.
My Farm is a massive on-line experiment which will eventually have 10,000 people all participating in the day to day running of the farm at Wimpole. Blogs and webcams bringing the farm into the homes of viewers on the internet. People can vote on various aspects of the farm and it is a great way of bringing farming to life for many people who would not normally have the opportunity to see the day to day running of a farm.
Lots of the animals on the farm are rare breeds, including sheep, cattle, poultry and my personal favourite, the pigs.
At the centre of the farm was the great barn housing a huge collection of old farm implements dating back 200 years.
It was obvious that farming had been going on a long time by this old sign I spotted.
After having a snack in the farm cafe, I decided to have a wander round the grounds. It was a very grey day but this just enhanced the beautiful display of flowers in the walled garden.
There was also an orchard with many varieties of apple. Unfortunately I didn’t know that a National Walnut Collection is also at Wimpole, should have paid more attention before I went. Still always good to have another reason to visit!.
Next I went to have a look at the view over the estate. In the distance I could see a tower in the form of a Gothic Folly on Johnston’s Hill.
The gardens at the rear of Wimpole Hall were very impressive. Repton and Capability Brown had both done work on the garden at various stages.
It was getting rather chilly so thought I would go and have a look inside the hall and get warmed up.
Wimpole Hall was originally built in 1643 by Sir Thomas Chicheley and is situated in a 2.500 acre estate. It has had a number of interesting owners including Charles Philip Yorke, 5th Earl of Hardwicke, known as Champagne Charley because of his extravagant lifestyle.
I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to take photographs inside, however in line with recent thinking I was told that as long as no flash was used I was welcome to take photos. Had I known I would have left myself more time to view the interior.
The Library at Wimpole was amazing. Almost my favourite room.
However it was overshadowed by this amazing harem of a bed. Never seen anything like it. Definitely one of these things you either love or hate!
In the course of looking around I was speaking to one of the volunteers and she told me a story which whether true or not really amused me. Mrs Elsie Bambridge (who was actually the daughter of Rudyard Kipling) lived alone in the house, other than helpers. One day she looked out and saw a family sitting having picnic in her front garden. She was so annoyed that she sent her driver to do the same in their small front garden!
As usual I was looking forward to seeing the servants quarters and they didn’t disappoint.
A real surprise was the bathhouse, how unexpected and wonderful is this.
You could certainly fit a whole rugby team in it, quite amazing.
It was a bit dark in the chapel, but as it was decorated for Harvest Festival I thought it worth including this photo.
Another quick wander outside and it was time to leave. Still plenty to see next time I visit, I had only scraped the surface of this wonderful Estate, and of course next time I must look out for the walnuts!.