Jeeps and Roses at the Gardens of Easton Lodge July Open Day

Published:
7:31 p.m. July 7, 2022



Updated:
7:55 p.m. July 7, 2022

The next open day at the Gardens of Easton Lodge will be an opportunity for visitors to learn about the area’s history during both World Wars – and smell the roses!


Roses in the gardens of Easton Lodge.
– Credit: The Gardens of Easton Lodge Preservation Trust

There will be a fascinating exhibition on the involvement of the Countess and Earl of Warwick in the preparations for the First World War and stories, maps and photos of local airmen during the Second World War.

Exhibitors on Sunday July 17 will show visitors jeeps, a cargo truck and other local artefacts and information about the US Air Force, while the Dunkirk Museum team will be in Essex Gardens to give a broader perspective.


War memorabilia at the Gardens of Easton Lodge

War memorabilia at the Gardens of Easton Lodge
– Credit: The Gardens of Easton Lodge Preservation Trust

On a beautiful summer day, Little Easton Gardens near Great Dunmow is a wonderful place for a relaxing day.

The RAF memorial area in the clearing was planted in memory of the efforts made by the Allies during the war.

There is a gum tree planted in memory of the Australians, a spruce from a small tree from a site in Norway where a plane supplying the resistance was shot down, an oak from an acorn brought from Arnhem and a maple planted in memory of the Canadians.

It is a shady spot and offers memorial benches for peaceful contemplation.

In the rest of the clearing, visitors can experience the majesty of old specimen trees, see new trees being planted, and then wander around to enjoy the view of the fishing lake.

Visitors can also enjoy hot and cold refreshments provided by volunteers from the Gardens of Easton Lodge Preservation Trust.

What could be nicer than tea and a homemade cake, while singing or dancing to songs from the 1940s performed by the singing duo Perfect Vintage?


Vintage music at the Gardens of Easton Lodge

Vintage music at the Gardens of Easton Lodge
– Credit: The Gardens of Easton Lodge Preservation Trust

Roses are at their best around the gardens, water lilies are home to many dragonflies, while butterflies and bees settle in to feed on the lavender and dahlias.

Kids – and their parents – love climbing the tree house for a different perspective and there will be a trail for them to complete and create activities.

The children’s trail will feature aspects of the wartime Easton Lodge estate.


A history stand at the Gardens of Easton Lodge

A history stand at the Gardens of Easton Lodge
– Credit: The Gardens of Easton Lodge Preservation Trust

There will be a number of stalls, including Brian’s extensive stand of well-priced plants, produce from the gardens, jams and honey and a few craft stalls.

Easton Lodge Gardens will open at 11 a.m. on Sunday July 17 and close at 5 p.m., with last entry at 4 p.m.

Tickets are available in advance online, on the Gardens website at www.eastonlodge.co.uk or on the Facebook page, or directly through Trybooking.com. They can also be purchased on the door after 12 noon.

Admission is £5.50 for adults and entry is free for children under 16. Dogs on a leash are welcome.

History of the Wartime Easton Lodge Gardens

The gardens at Easton Lodge in Essex are Historic England Grade II listed.

Frances Evelyn Maynard inherited Easton Lodge in 1865 and became Countess of Warwick when her husband inherited Warwick’s title in 1893.

The Earl of Warwick was Honorary Colonel of the Essex Imperial Yeomanry Regiment and organized training for the regiment, before he was called up.

At the time of World War I, the Countess was a socialist and in many ways opposed the war.

The story of the start of the war was fictionalized by HG Wells, who lived in Little Easton at the time, in Mr. Britling goes all the way.

The Countess’s son owned Easton Lodge when it was requisitioned for use in the Second World War.

Some 10,000 trees were felled in the park to make way for Great Dunmow airfield for the US Army Air Force.

General Dwight D Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander, paid an official visit to the airfield in April 1944.

Three months later, the resident 386th Bomb Group began trials of Great Dunmow’s new A-26 Invader bomber.

When the Americans arrived in France later in 1944, the RAF made it a base for Stirling bombers. Throughout the war, airmen and airwomen rested and recuperated in the Gardens.

The gardens fell into disrepair after the war, but have been brought back to life by the Gardens of Easton Lodge Preservation Trust and its volunteers.

They are the most important legacy of Harold Peto’s work in the East of England.

The Countess commissioned Harold Peto to redesign her gardens in 1902.

Peto’s designs include the sunken Italian garden and its 100-foot-long pool with water lilies, which has been recently restored, a recreated tree house and a glade with a Japanese stream and other features, which leads to a trout lake.

The gardens of Warwick House, which are also open on open days courtesy of their owners, are the front garden of what used to be Easton Lodge.

They include stately trees and colorful borders, as well as a Peto-style pavilion, which was restored in 1995.

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