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Stourhead

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The Temple of Apollo high on a hill overlooking the gardens.  The design was based on a circular temple at Baalbec
The Temple of Apollo high on a hill overlooking the gardens. The design was based on a circular temple at Baalbec

Stourhead is a 2,650 acre (11 km²) estate at the source of the River Stour near Mere, in Wiltshire, England. The estate includes a Palladian Mansion, the village of Stourton, gardens, farmland and woodland and is now owned by the National Trust.

The Stourton family had lived in the Stourhead estate for 700 hundred years when they sold it to Henry Hoare I, son of wealthy banker Sir Richard Hoare in 1717. The original manor house was torn down and Colen Campbell was employed to build the new one, one of the first of its kind. Over the next 200 years the Hoare family collected many heirlooms, including a large library and art collection. In 1901 the house was gutted by fire. However many of the heirlooms were saved, and the house re-built in a near identical style. Henry Hugh Arthur Hoare whose heir has been killed in World War I, gave the house to the National Trust in 1947.

The gardens, were designed by Henry Hoare II and laid out between 1741 and 1780, in a classical 18th century design set around a large lake achieved by damming a small stream. The inspiration behind their creation were the painters Claude, Poussin and in particular Gaspar Dughet who painted Utopian type views of Italian landscapes.

Included in the garden are a number of temples designed to show off the Hoare family'Obelisk" title ="Obelisk">obelisk and King Alfred'Metre" title ="Metre">metre brick folly designed by Henry Flitcroft in 1772), on another hill the temple of Apollo provides a vantage point to survey the magnificent rhododendron, water, cascades and temples. Amongst the woodland surrounding the site there are also 2 iron age hill forts, Whitesheet Hill and Park Hill Camp. The gardens are home to a large collection of trees and shrubs from around the world.

The lake at Stourhead, view to the Temple of Flora
The lake at Stourhead, view to the Temple of Flora

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