We have 10 acres of grounds which visitors are free to enjoy.
Although much of the area is laid to grass there are a number of interesting features to discover. The most obvious one is our magnificent Cedar of Lebanon. We do not know exactly how old this is but it is certainly one of the oldest and largest in the country.
On the western edge of the property there is a ha-ha – designed to keep deer out of the garden while still allowing an uninterrupted view of the Hambleden valley. These days the deer have found another way to get in and you will often see them in the grounds at dusk. Behind the walled garden there is a formal garden, which in the house’s heyday was probably a rose garden, but that was when the deer (who like nothing better than to dine on a tasty rose bush) were kept out, so it has now been made into a sensory garden by a local youth project, stocked with aromatic plants which have less appeal to wildlife.
On the South side of the garden you will find our orchard, the source of the tasty apple crumble which you may have just enjoyed and of the St. Katharine’s apple juice which we produce and sell in the years when we have surplus crop. Behind this is a small cemetery where the sisters of the order of St. Katharine and their pets are buried.
Also on the southern boundary is a large sunken garden, which awaits restoration. This started life as an ornamental lake which Lord Parmoor had dug during the Depression as a work-creation project. However, when it was completed it attracted a large number of frogs and the noise they made annoyed people so much that it was drained and turned into a sunken garden instead!
If you arrive at St. Katharine’s from the Hambleden direction you will pass our duckpond. The source of the water in this pond is something of a mystery as its level does not necessarily reflect recent rainfall, but this doesn’t seem to bother the ducks who also enjoy taking an occasional stroll around the grounds.
There is an abundance of wildlife in the grounds; as well as the aforementioned deer and muntjac you will almost certainly see Red Kites circling above you and rabbits scurrying about. You may catch sight of a fox and the molehills are testament to our underground visitors – so beware of dips and holes when you are walking across the grass.
Wildlife havens and ornamental gardens do not go well together so we do not have extensive flower beds, however in summer our gardener puts all his effort into hanging baskets and window boxes providing lots of colour which is hopefully out of reach of our four legged visitors.
outside seating area
inside the walled garden
walled garden in winter
cedar of Lebanon
apple orchard in winter
Thank you for a wonderful afternoon tea. ”
Oasis, Christ Church - Jul 2018
Thank you for having us! Great stay, lovely garden and helpful staff. See you again next year. ”
Vacation Project, Lincoln College Oxford - Aug 2018
The success of the weekend was helped ... by the quality of the accommodation ... the generous provision of our food but perhaps most of all the staff ”
Bereaved dads' weekend Nov 2018
This has been a wonderful caring time. Thank you St Katharine's staff team. ”
NW & JT, Marlow - Oct 2018