Yesterday I spent a little time exploring the campus at Exeter University – I have a meeting today at Reed Hall and wanted to make sure I knew where it was! I have been there before but …
Reed Hall is the oldest building at the University and contains the magical arboretum. Here is a bit of history.
Reed Hall was formerly known as Streatham Hall and was built for Richard Thornton West in 1867. The impressive Italian style terrace gardens lead to the extensive collection of specimen trees and shrubs planted by the famous plant importer Robert Veitch who had nurseries in Exeter in the mid to late 1800s (I’ve written about the tree collection at Exeter University before – see here). The 1903 sales prospectus suggested that ‘the mansion is surrounded by most beautiful pleasure grounds arranged in terraces and including an exquisite Italian garden, with lake and superb conservatory and palm house. There are extensive fruit and vegetable gardens and complete range of glass . . . The Builder and Gardener have manifestly worked hand-in-hand and, under the mellowing effects of time, nature has perfected in her generous way the original design.’ Surviving garden features also include the pinetum and ornamental pond with fountains. The Palm House was removed to the Imperial Wetherspoon’s pub on St David’s Hill and is now one of the bars.
Just up from the formal gardens is a fallen pine which has been conserved and curated to tell its history. I like things like this!
The whole area (i.e. the grounds around Reed Hall) is open to the public and if you haven’t been it is well worth a visit.