By: Timothy Mowl(Author), Laura Mayer(Author)
240 pages, colour & b/w illustrations
In landscape terms, Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely are known, unjustifiably, only for leaden skies and the endless flat expanse of cultivated land or marshy fens that lie beneath. Apart from the college gardens, where the University's courts turned their backs to the River Cam, only four gardens in the county are sometimes said to be worth a visit: Anglesey Abbey, where Lord Fairhaven's hotchpotch of statuary litters some 114 formal acres, Wimpole Hall, which reads like a Who's Who entry of garden history practitioners, Peckover House in Wisbech, with its secret enclosures, and the University's Botanic Garden.
However, even though the county has few major country estates, it has examples of every type of historic landscape, from the remains of Elizabethan moated gardens at Kirtling and Haslingfield, through major formal layouts at Chippenham Park and Horseheath to landscape parks by Capability Brown and Humphry Repton at Madingley and Dullingham. The twentieth century inspired some of the county's most lusciously planted gardens like the Ravens Dowcras Manor and the Crossing House, both at Shepreth. There is good modern garden sculpture at Chilford Hall and fine figurative examples at the Old Vicarage, Grantchester. But it is the American Cemetery at Madingley, where 3812 servicemen sleep under arcs of pristine headstones and a modernist chapel rises above the still waters of a lily-flecked canal, which will linger most in the memory.
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