Catching leaves at Lytes Cary
I admit. I was hoping to go somewhere last weekend that didn’t mean big crowds but still with a nod to Halloween. My children have reached the stage where dressing up as witches and following pumpkin trails, in broad day light…it’s just not going to happen. (After dark is a whole different matter!) We chose to avoid the obvious National Trust properties and tried our luck with Lytes Cary down near Somerton, Somerset.
It is a small property, with an interesting garden. Showing the children a medieval hall and how it had been added to, was on my list. They enjoyed wandering around the house and hearing the stories about some of the objects. I was intrigued by the brandy warming table. Ingenious!
The boy was interested in two unusual, elizabethan looking ladies, made out of leather, in one of the rooms. About a metre high. The guide told him a couple of theories about them – servants moved them round so their shadows, cast by the fire, deterred burglars, or being the fourteenth person at the table. Why two? A lady can’t possibly be seen in the same dress two days in a row.
It was the garden that the children really enjoyed. There are lots of high hedges and topiary. Breaking the garden up into rooms. The children could go off and explore without us. Playing an unofficial game of hide and seek.
“Oh there you are,” as I look up from taking another photo. Only to see them disappear again.
For the end of the season, there was still plenty of interest in the gardens.
I’m not sure if I missed a herbal garden, but I had hoped to see one. In the house, they have one of the few copies of an old herbal remedies book, Niewe Herball, which a former owner Henry Lyte translated. Maybe I missed the herbs, but I did see the book.
We did find medlars on one tree, alongside blossom. They also have apple and quince trees. I couldn’t resist making sure everyone breathed in a little bit of the quince fragrance. I miss our tree. It’s been a few years. Youngest wanted to know if it was meant to have fuzz on it. Oh yes.
I quite like the idea of adding a medlar tree to our little orchard.
We were too late to hunt for conkers. Hoards of other children had beaten us to them. Not that it stopped the children searching through the empty cases, just in case. They tried to catch leaves as they fell from the impressive avenue of broadleaves.
They may have grown beyond the fun trails offered, but put the children in a landscape with trees and a place to run, and they will have fun. Our trip had the perfect balance of autumn and interest for my growing family.