It’s surprising what you find on your doorstep. The first and last house in Thurrock situated on the A128 just before the railway bridge is a treat to behold and I am ashamed to say I have driven pasty a thousand times miserably failing to pop in. This Sunday, millionaire Bernard Holmes opened his gardens to the public ,as he does every Thursday, but this time the visit included a sight of his fantastic motor car and cycle collection. Better than Beaulieu?. Very possibly and it doesn’t stop there.
A massive project is underway to build a very long miniature railway and so far they are about half way round the extensive grounds. Apparently Bernard likes to fly his plane over his property to make sure the aerial view looks good as well.
The 17 hectares of gardens at Barnards Farm range from landscaped walks through young woodland to the precise detail of the Japanese garden.
The more formal gardens including a parterre, herbaceous borders, a living wall and the vegetable garden are found nearer the house.
A walk through the managed landscape will take in the long avenue, a stream, ponds, and the Euro wood. A striking feature in the SW corner is the belvedere, planted largely with roses providing a blaze of colour in summer.
A significant collection of sculpture is disposed throughout the garden providing some interesting surprises. Many artists and nationalities are represented and the collection includes works by Elizabeth Frink, Jean-Marie Fondacaro, Antony Gormley, Thomas Heatherwick, Nicolas Lavarenne, Bernard Holmes, Charmiane Cox and Monica Young.
Barnards Farm is home to the National Collection of Malus (Crab apples) and so benefits from blossom in spring time and colourful fruit in autumn.
There is a grass airstrip and the design and development of the gardens have been influenced by consideration of the aerial view. Pilots and passengers are welcome.
I urge anyone with a love of gardens or cars or railways to call in on a Thursday to Barnards Farm . I guarantee you will be overwhelmed