Thankfully Cadhay has continued to weather the slowdown in the economy over the last year. The visitor numbers were well up on the previous year, occupation of the house remains high and there were a record number of wedding parties.
Increased number of visitors for house and gardens tour
Our visitor numbers again increased dramatically for the third consecutive year. The increase over the previous year is due to a huge increase in the number of visitors just coming to see the gardens which has been a very welcome response to the energy that has gone into improving the gardens. It also reflects the work done by allotment holders to make the walled garden a delight to visit. The increase in garden visits has given rise to a huge increase in plant sales which more than doubled this year.
In the Tea Room Pam became an invaluable member of the team and had to stand in for Jane on the occasions when she had to be on grandmother duties. Maury ran the plant stall much of the time providing knowledgeable advice and freeing up Dave and Alison to do garden tours. The Ottery St Mary church fete was again held at Cadhay and was well attended despite the weather.
Cadhay and the cottages have continued to be very popular for holidays and house parties and we are very grateful to everyone who has supported us in this way.
Last year was a record year with fifteen wedding celebrations ranging from small intimate weddings of just 16 guests to grand marquee events with over 120 guests. The weather was on the whole been kind, with wedding guests being able to take full advantage of the surroundings and the gardens at Cadhay. Many of them said that it was like being married from their own home. Dealing with all these weddings has been hard work for Jayne as well as ensuring that everyone else staying in the house is looked after but in her calm and reassuring way she has ensured that they have been flawless.
As anticipated we replaced the attic windows and repainted all the windows and gutters on the West side of the house. Whilst the scaffolding was up we replaced quite a few slates and completely refurbished the gutters. Cadhay House is on a quinquennial review system and the first five years is almost complete. Most of the work which was identified in the initial condition survey has been carried out and the few remaining items in the courtyard will be carried out this winter before the next survey takes place.
Gardens & Landscape
The gardens have again looked magnificent this year thanks to everyone involved. Rob has joined the garden team for a few months to enable us to tackle the major project in the woods. Jenny Arkwright is fully mobile and has rejoined us to help Jenny Tucket in the gardens. Phil has had to stop helping with the mowing and he is sadly missed.
A new patio was created so that visitors to the Tea Room can sit outside without us having to take tables and chairs out each time. The cobbles have been replaced either side of the path by the South Porch.
In the autumn more garden walls have been re-pointed and Barton William-Powlett’s massive programme of renewing the wires on the garden walls has almost been completed.
The stonework on the raised beds at either end of the borders has been renewed in line with the recommendations of the Landscape management plan. The coping stones on the piers are large slabs of Blue Lias matching the paving stones by the South Porch. Sadly the Pine tree which has done a valiant job disguising the Telegraph pole opposite the Coach House was rotten and had to be felled.
We have been awarded a grant to remove the huge expanse of rhododendrons in the woods as they harbour disease. We have also submitted an application for a grant to restore the tracks in the woods.