The Orangery was built in 1740 as a water house for the Newman family, was redesigned by Robert Adam, and is now looked after by Philip and Kara Letts, who were looking for an estate retreat location with a beautiful natural environment. In the Orangery, they found a property that exceeded even their highest of expectations.
The estate retreat boasts an 18th-century parkland designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, whose imprint can still be found across the estate today. Huge cedar trees and graceful oaks frame the surrounding landscape with Brown having also created a hill and a lake, hidden within a ring of birch trees.
The garden has been altered throughout the years and, in particular, two decades ago Georgia Langton took the opportunity to give the gardens a new lift. She restored the terraces at the front of the Orangery and allowed the bog gardens of gunnera to develop where Brown’s ponds had stood. When the Letts family arrived, a lot of this beautiful work had become overgrown. They have spent the last few years lovingly restoring the area to its most beautiful state. The front of the house now incorporates Gaura lindheimeri, echium, yuccas, and cycad to add a delightful Mediterranean feel. With the diversity of land, the Orangery is a real botanical gem.
To coincide with the 300th anniversary of Capability Brown’s birth, the Letts family have reopened the Orangery for occasional private functions, and in the spring of 2017, the garden will be open for limited private events.
Capability Brown’s Lake and the Orangery’s Lakehouse
One of Brown’s trademarks was a grassy slope leading to a uniquely shaped lake, bordered by trees. The Orangery has an excellent example, with the lake hidden from view by birch trees positioned in the shape of a horseshoe.
The Orangery’s Lakehouse is a luxury, self-catering guest house with a veranda that hovers over the lake itself. Occupants gain the rare privilege to visit Brown’s gardens, enjoy the farm, and boat on the lake.
The Orangery – Rare Breed Working Farm
The Orangery is developing a rare breed working farm where Tamworth pigs and Badger Face sheep, freely roam the woods.
About the author: Anna Stella, Marketing, The Orangery, Mamhead, Devon.