The Newt In Somerset

WORDS Leana Clunies-Ross PHOTOS Dook PRODUCTION Annemarie Meintjes

The gardens of The Newt in Somerset, recently opened to the public, are a mix of formal planting, wildflower meadows, apple orchards and more. We can’t wait to see what other delights the South African owners of this English country estate have in store.

The talents of South African style-setter Karen Roos are already legendary. Nine years ago, this visionary and her husband resurrected the previously neglected Babylonstoren farm near Paarl, which today draws visitors from all over the world.

Porky Hefer’s human-scale weaver nests have been wowing visitors to Babylonstoren and Cape Town’s Company Gardens, and now visitors to The Newt are in for a treat, too.

In 2013, the couple bought Hadspen House and its surrounding 120 hectares of land in Somerset, Emily Estate – a property that once belonged to generations of Emily Hobhouse’s family. With the help of French architect Patrice Taravella and a theatre full of skilled artisans, Karen, the creative director, reshaped the estate into gardens, potagers, lawns, ponds, wooden walkways, hornbeam hedges, and a maze of 460 apple trees inspired by gardens of the baroque period. They make cider on the estate, and there are restaurants, a garden shop, and a hotel and spa. Renamed for the protected newts that occur here, The Newt in Somerset fuses 2 000 years of British horticultural fashions and traditions with contemporary South African design.

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