Three roads meet at the bottom of a small, insignificant valley. And just a short way up from the valley floor are two adjacent gates, always open. (Neither accessible to the removal lorry.) It’s possible to make a circuit of our new domain, encompassing all the various environments we have, by entering at one gate and circling around to reach the other.
The house itself sits at the top of its small kingdom, facing north, with garden to the east and west. The remaining land extends further east into a large, heavily sloping field. In the field the ground is ridged and tussocky; around the boundaries we have a tended hedge and a few trees, including a large overhanging oak. And we have a promising bramble patch. The field extends above and below the house – where it drops down onto a short, broad, grassy path which marks our southern boundary on its right. On the left of the path is a steep bank, climbing back up to the garden. At this time in the year it looks dead and bare. When mother nature gets into her stride, I don’t think it will stay that way. The path opens up, passing the somewhat neglected sand school and the large, rather ugly, but very useful barn, before arriving back at the second of our two gates, the tour completed. Overall, we have about two acres: not huge compared to many, but vastly more than most, and a great deal more than I’ve ever had before.
So many different habitats, each brimming with possibilities.
From the west
Pulling into the drive, you’re approaching from the west. There is a steep, upward stretch of driveway with a banked garden to the right. Four trees I can’t yet identify border the drive and – arriving as we have in early spring – scattered among them along the bank are clusters of daffodils and sprinklings of primroses. I see no evidence of snowdrops and certainly no hellebores. Both will find their way onto these banks before next spring.
Behind the bank lies a ribbon of lawn and a second tier of trees and shrubs – also unidentified as yet apart from a large buddleia, an unruly dogwood, and a couple of sorry-looking conifers. And behind them is a larger lawned area: shady for the most part and almost secret. It’s visible, but wrapped around by fence and greenery, and largely hidden from the house by an enormous pale conifer. I have no recollection of this space from when we first came here in January; discovering it now is a lovely surprise. As it is at the moment, it requires no maintenance beyond cutting the lawn. But what potential… One day!