Revisting Parke as spring emerges

It must be well over a year since I was last at Parke – I used to work there as the National Trust’s General Manager for Dartmoor. I met up for a quick chat with a few of my old colleagues – good to see them.

My main purpose was to meet with Kevin Bishop, the Dartmoor National Park Authority’s Chief Executive and Ali Kohler, the DNPA’s Director of Conservation and  Communities to talk about my PhD and get some ideas and feedback from them. Very helpful.

Parke – looking across the parkland to Bovey Tracey

snowdropsThe snowdrops and cultivated daffodils are in full flower


Great to see one of the Moor Otter sculptures in the main reception – you will, I expect, hear a lot more about these when we get to the summer – see here for more details – there are going to be 100 of them (all different) dotted around the National Park later in the year

wild-daffodilOn the way home I drove down the Teign Valley and stopped to photograph the wild daffodils that are beginning to flower in profusion – those in full sunlight were flowering – those in shade will need a couple more weeks

hazel-catkinsAlso got to see the hazel catkins in full flower – I love it when they turn yellow



My last day with the National Trust on Dartmoor

Yesterday was my last day with the National Trust after 18 years as a Property Manager at Wicken Fen and General Manager on Dartmoor

This little converted barn has been my office along with several other members of the team

It has been very cosy with its log burner and Vespa the Vizsla

There was even a lovely double rainbow yesterday

And here is my computer screen showing my Outlook email account – no emails left in my inbox!

I will miss my friends and colleagues and I am sure we will keep in touch.

Love the National Trust too but its time for a change

A Walled Garden in winter

I spent a few minutes yesterday looking around the Walled Garden at Parke. It is a very different place now that winter has come but nevertheless it is not completely asleep or dormant. There is always something interesting going on which reflects the place and the world we live in.

Walled Garden 7
On the outside – looking in

Walled Garden 1
Looking down from the former ‘sun trap’ corner across the Walled Garden with the vineyard in the foreground and the vegetable plots in the distance

Walled Garden 2
The vines – a few leaves left but essentially bedding down and waiting for spring

Walled Garden 4
The leeks are however in full flow – how many of these will be on a Christmas Day plate?

Walled Garden 5
Chard – if only it tasted as good as it looks

Walled Garden 3
Preparation is everything

Walled Garden 6
I fear these figs have mistimed their appearance – the result of a hugely mild autumn stretching into November – the mildest on record

I’ve even got fruiting strawberries in my garden – they are green and will stay so before they disappear …. unless ….

Fixing the roof – well more like the guttering

Eddie and Jake from our Dartmoor building team have been at Parke this week fixing the Iron guttering which was smashed by a delivery van a few weeks ago- what seemed a simple task turned into a complicated one which needed a full scaffolding platform – fortunately the delivery company is footing the bill

IMG_3794They will also repaint the galvanised roof at the same time

IMG_3796The smashed guttering

IMG_3795The new guttering – thanks to Jake and Eddie