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Mapperton Gardens, Dorset; no stranger to film crews

Mapperton, the family home of the Earl and Countess of Sandwich, is no stranger to film crews. This glorious English garden has taken a leading role in adaptions of Far from the Madding Crowd, Emma, and most recently in the new Netflix film, Rebecca.

Join Caroline Sandwich for a virtual visit, and discover the story behind this award-winning garden

Mapperton is a romantic garden hidden in the West Dorset hills behind Beaminster.

The gardens are the setting for one of Dorset’s finest manor houses, Mapperton House. This was originally a Tudor manor and church, rebuilt in the 1660s with stable blocks and coach houses. The surrounding courtyard gardens offer a space to enjoy the views out to the open landscape, framed by the stable blocks which are covered in one-hundred-year-old wisteria.

© Carole Drake

For over 30 years, The Earl and Countess of Sandwich have profited from generations before to both change and restore the gardens – which were laid out in the 1920s.

The garden descends in terraces down the valley. At the northern end lies the Fountain Court, an Italianate garden of stone, grass, borders, topiary and water. At every corner there are summerhouses, grottoes and statuary. It is protected on the east by a planted hillside, and on the west by two banks running down from the house and lawn.

On a lower level the formal garden gives way to two long pools and a wild garden following the stream with specimen trees and shrubs mainly planted in the 1960s. Beyond is a woodland garden with spring flowers and pine trees.

In 2020, this captivating garden was voted Historic Houses ‘Garden of the Year’.

Mapperton has been a generous supporter of the National Garden Scheme since 1966.

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”

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