Normally this blog is all about the domesticsy things I do at home, but I wanted to include a field trip.
Yesterday we went to the nearby National Trust site Mottisfont Abbey. Thanks to Henry VIII, not much of the abbey still remains, but it was converted into a massive country home, parts of which you can tour. To be honest, though, what I enjoyed most were the grounds.
Set on a huge plot on the River Test in rural Hampshire, the Mottisfont property is breath-takingly beautiful. The shallow river ambles through the gardens, and is full of ducks and fish. The grounds include both more overgrown, natural woodland, and carefully manicured gardens, and Mottisfont is home to the famous rose garden that preserves old and endangered varieties of roses. I loved how throughout the gardens, a lot of aromatic and edible plants were used. You could find sage used as a border plant, rosemary in amongst flowers, and figs hiding behind the roses. There were also a variety of fruit trees on the grounds (including mulberries, which I got to pick and taste for the first time). It was a peaceful, inviting place to be.
We also ate at the restaurant there. They serve dishes including trout (caught fresh from the river), and use produce from their own gardens and local farms. They also use locally milled flour (from Winchester) and cheese produced at local farms. The food was delicious, and really inspired me to keep using as many local products as possible.
I definitely plan on going back.
To see more pictures of Mottisfont Abbey, click here.