With a group of “senior” members from the Old Colstonian Society (the association of the alumni of Colston’s School in Bristol, UK) we visited The Savill Garden, an amazing garden in Windsor Great Park near London which describes itself as Britain’s finest ornamental garden.
Windsor Great Park with Windsor Castle in the background
The start of the tour
The Savill Garden is an enclosed part of Windsor Great Park, created by Sir Eric Savill in the 1930s. It is managed by the Crown Estate. The garden includes woodland, ornamental areas and a pond. However, at this spring time the speciality was the exotic azaleas, rhododendrons and magnolias.
Eric Savill (1895–1980) was the grandson of Alfred Savill the founder of a large firm of estate agents and was involved in managing Windsor Great Park from 1930 to 1970, being Director of Gardens from 1962 to 1970. He opened the Savill Garden to the public in 1951 and left it as a heritage to the nation.
There were a few birds which you would expect to see in gardens and woodland (such as blackbird, robin, jackdaw, Canada goose, pheasant) and a few surprising ones (such as a red kite, a parakeet and a family of Egyptian Geese). We even heard a cuckoo.
Family of Egyptian geese
A very out-of-focus photo of red kite (which surprised me as it flew very close overhead)
Parakeet (now quite common in London)
The whole experience was enhanced by the superb modern visitors’ centre with restaurant, café and even retail opportunities.
The modern visitors’ centre
But today was not really about the birds, it was the flora which was truly magnificent in the beautiful sunshine.