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About Bridge End Gardens
These perfectly laid out gardens were started in the mid 18th century by Atkinson Francis Gibson. They are particularly noted for the famous yew hedge maze in the Italian-Renaissance style planted in 1840, and now restored.
In all there are seven interlinked gardens to explore, varied features of the richly planted landscape include a spectacular scented rose garden, a walled garden, Dutch garden, a wilderness woodland area, and tranquil Poets corner. In every part of the garden there is something fresh to draw the eye, be it a statue of the 18th century or the picturesque summerhouse of 1840 which borders the main lawn. The small, delightful pavilion dates from around the same period, and like many of the gardens focal points has been extensively restored back to its former glory.
Included in your tour of this lovely landscape is a visit to the Fry Art Gallery, a building erected in 1856 to house the extensive collection of art works gathered by Francis Gibson - the gallery is often referred to as "the gallery in the garden". It is now leased to The Fry Art Gallery Society and features the works of Essex artists from the 19th and 20th centuries, including those of George Lewis Fry (1860-1933) landscape painter and grandson of Francis Gibson. Two of his murals can be seen decorating the walls at either end of the summerhouse.
These attractive gardens are well worth a visit, not only will they charm and inspire but stand as a unique testimony as to how a landscape can be revived, yet still retain its vibrant colour and tranquillity intended.
Bridge End Gardens appeared in the BBC television series "Hidden Gardens" screened in 2004.
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Random England fact:Studland Beach
, in Dorset, has been used by naturists for nearly 100 years. Two of its naturist visitors were author George Bernhard Shaw and children's authoress Enid Blyton. With her familiarity of the area, the nearby village of Studland was the basis for Toytown in her Noddy books and used again in her Famous Five stories.
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