Saturday 12 October 2013

Winkworth Arboretum

Until today, I had only ever been to one Arboretum and that was a pub in Nottingham. I suppose I should be ashamed to say that I don't know if the pub was near a real arboretum or not, but I was a nineteen year-old student at the time and trees were not top of my agenda (nor were European Studies for that matter, which is more troubling as that's what I was supposed to be doing there).

Anyway, trees are not really top of my agenda now either, if I'm honest. I could probably tell you the difference between an oak and a horse-chestnut, and I did once grow an apple tree from a pip (in 26 years it has failed to deliver a single apple and just sits in my mum's garden covered in a weird mould) but other than that, nada. 

However. I wanted to go to Winkworth Arboretum near Godalming in Surrey because it's October and they have a really nice Facebook page with an 'autumn watch' updating the general public on when the leaves will change colour and look stunning so everyone can pile down there and get their entries for the Countryfile photographic competition (I assume).

The Winkworth scone
But before I talk foliage, let's talk scones. Following my slightly disastrous, scone-less trip to Hughenden, I had a mild panic attack at Winkworth when I couldn't see a single scone. "Cream team!" I squeaked at the assistant with a slightly mad look in my eyes and she pointed out that the scones were in a bread-bin. 'Why hide the scones?' I grumbled to myself but I take it all back because the scones were IMMENSE. Two scones, cream, jam and tea was £4.90 and they were DELICIOUS. The bread-bin had kept them soft and moist and truly, truly tasty. I'd go as far as to say that they are THE BEST YET, so they get a 5* from me. (I couldn't eat all of the second scone so I gave a little chunk to a passing duck, who swam up to it, looked at it, and then swam off, but let's not spoil the moment.)

Scones at National Trust Winkworth Arboretum

Anyway, having eaten our scones we set off for a walk through the arboretum. An arboretum is basically a garden of trees - in this case it was a Dr Wilfrid Fox who created the arboretum in 1937 and planted all sorts of trees there, before giving it to the National Trust in the 50s. 

And Winkworth is a really beautiful location. As with many National Trust properties, you walk round thinking how lovely it is, without really appreciating how much effort Dr Fox had to go to, both to plan the space so that it provides the best possible views and then bring in the trees and make them grow:

I'd recommend visiting a little later in October to see the true autumnal majesty of it all, but we had a lovely time.

Scones: 5* out of 5 (we're getting all GCSEy)
Duck's score of scones: 0 out of 5
Winkworth Arboretum: 3 out of 5

PS - I'd like to finish with a picture of some soda bread that my Irish mother baked using the flour that I picked up during my last sconeing mission, to Houghton Mill. I honestly thought that flour would sit in a cupboard for the next 10 years, so I was greatly cheered when she used it. The apples are not from my useless grown-from-a-pip tree but from another tree that I bought her in an effort to make mine do something useful. Mine remains barren and mouldy, while the new one is practically flinging the Bramleys into the kitchen. There are also two green tomatoes at the back of the picture (no, me neither):

Soda bread from Houghton Mill flour

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