The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening tours by J.C. Loudon 1831-1842
Chapter: Middlesex, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Wilshire, Dorsetshire, Hampshire, Sussex, and Kent in the Summer of 1832

Highclere Milford Lake

Previous - Next

After spending several hours in seeing the grounds about the house, we drove down to the sheet of water called Milford. This was a favourite spot of the late Lord Caernarvon. As a piece of home lake scenery, it is beautiful; and, as altogether the work of art, with the exception of the sloping bank covered with natural wood, it is admirable. A large wood, remarkable for the size and richness of its hollies, is connected with this natural beech wood by extensive plantations of fir and larch. The holly wood, which is called Penwood, possesses great beauty. The undergrowth of the woods and islands of this lake of Milford Water is entirely composed of rhododendrons, azaleas, kalmias, and other American evergreens, which attain a vast size, and sow themselves. There are numerous Nepal hybrids here; and they are found to stand the drought better than the common sorts. Altogether, we do not know any place in the country where there is such a great extent of American trees and shrubs. There are even some exotic aquatics in the water; and it is in contemplation to scatter the seeds of many of the most beautiful of the North American annuals in the woods, as is now doing at Dropmore. Among the native trees are some very large beeches, one of which is 18 ft. in circumference at 3 ft. from the ground, and 24 ft. close to it. Another larger-stemmed tree, close to this, is 13 ft. 8 in. in circumference, at 3 ft. from the ground. There is a large ash, near these beeches, which is 13 ft. 8 in. close to the ground; and there is an ash in the park 16 ft. 8 in. in circumference at 3 ft. from the ground. These large trees are supposed to be aboriginal. " The summit of Beacon Hill is crowned with a very fine British entrenchment. Several barrows at the foot of the hill were opened some years ago, and found to contain burnt bones, spear and arrow heads of bronze, and some small ornaments of thin gold, which had obviously been used as a covering to a nucleus long since decayed. The elevated barrows had contained the bones of warriors; the smaller ones, which were only slightly elevated above the surrounding ground, contained smaller bones (apparently either those of females or young people), which were unaccompanied by implements of war."