Last chance to visit the Gardens of Easton Lodge before loving owners leave
THE afternoon opening of the Gardens of Easton Lodge on Sunday July 18 will be the last chance for members of the public to visit before the current owners, Brian and Diana Creasey, take their leave of Warwick House which is set in the grounds.
The couple have devoted the last 39 years to the restoration of the gardens from the overgrown jungle they found when they moved in.
The new owners have pledged to allow the 2010 season to continue with openings on August 22, September 19 and October 10, but the future of the public access to the gardens in 2011 and beyond has yet to be determined.
The Gardens of Easton Lodge, in Little Easton near Great Dunmow, were one of the most important creations of the Edwardian designer Harold Peto. His commission in 1902 came from ‘Darling Daisy’, Countess of Warwick, who regularly entertained society guests there including the Prince of Wales before he acceded to the throne as Edward VII.
Nature took over after 1950 when the gardens ceased to be maintained. When Brian and Diana Creasey arrived in December 1971 they immediately set to work, creating a garden around the west wing of Warwick House on the concrete and rubble of the former Easton Lodge.
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In 1993, after several attempts, they managed to acquire a further 4.5 acres of overgrowth and jungle and began restoring the garden and its features.
In 1995, full restoration commenced. The Italian Garden was cleared in 1996 and the glade – or Japanese Garden – in 1997-8. The gardens are now registered Grade II by English Heritage.
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In 2004 the Gardens of Easton Lodge Preservation Trust was established with charitable status and the aim of completing the restoration of the gardens for future generations.
Brian and Diana Creasey formally retired from running the gardens in 2008, since when the Trust has continued to maintain regular, although limited, openings to the public supported largely by volunteer help. Land Securities, who also own land around Warwick House which forms part of the gardens, have helped considerably with this.
Robin Whalley, acting chairman of the Gardens of Easton Lodge Preservation Trust and leading authority on Harold Peto, the famous Edwardian designer of the gardens, said: “We have tremendous admiration for all that Brian and Diana have achieved over the last four decades to bring the former magic of the gardens to life and we wish them well in their new lives.
“Our hope now is that we can establish a good relationship with the new owners in order to continue work on the restoration of this much loved feature of the north west Essex countryside.”
Entry to the Gardens of Easton Lodge costs just �2.50 (children free). Picnics are welcome and home-made tea and cakes will be on sale in the Cobble Courtyard during opening hours (12 noon to 6pm). Dogs on leads are admitted.
Further information is available from the recorded information service on 01371 876979, online at eastonlodge.co.uk or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The Gardens of Easton Lodge are located just outside Great Dunmow in Little Easton, off the B184 (Great Dunmow to Saffron Walden road). Follow the brown heritage signs.