There are twelve acres (five hectares) of tranquil gardens at Godinton to be explored and enjoyed, surrounded by parkland studded with stately oaks and chestnuts. Terraced lawns bordered by the famous yew hedge and topiaried box have been softened over the last century by the addition of long, curvy-edged herbaceous borders and ornamental tree and shrub plantings. Wandering through the gardens along broad gravel paths or across the neatly cut lawns (there are no ‘Keep off the Grass’ signs here) the visitor will discover many surprises.
The first is a classically romantic rose garden, designed with a combination of shrub roses and herbaceous planting to give a voluptuous mix of summer-long flowering and wonderful scent. Following rose and clematis-edged steps, you will find a large formal lily pond shaded by willow trees fed by a constantly bubbling natural spring.

 

Beyond the pond, the Belvedere with its Portland stone balustrade gives views across the Stour valley. From here, meander across the old tennis lawn or follow paths to the wild garden with arboretum planting to an informal pond, home to an ever increasing population of wildlife – if you are lucky you may spot a Kingfisher flashing across the water or a grass snake basking in the sun. In spring this area is a mass of daffodils, fritillaries, primroses and anemones, then during the late summer in the cool shade watch the dragonflies hover over the waterlilies.

A favourite with many visitors is the intimate Italian garden, the entrance framed by statues of the four continents and a wonderful Japanese Wisteria producing a waterfall of lavender flowers in May. A charming little summerhouse leads you into the old walled garden where a spectacular collection of delphiniums grows against the mellow bricks.   Large greenhouses, cut flower beds, fruit trees and vegetables retain the feel of a Victorian kitchen garden.

For the more energetic visitor there is a circular walk through the 18th century park and along the Stour river, with wonderful views back to the house and garden. Here an extensive tree planting programme is ensuring the future of the parkland.