Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Scampston's Autumn Plant Fair

Sunday 25th September marked Scampston's Autumn Plant Fair and a huge gathering of the green-fingered residents of Ryedale.

From the word 'Go!', the heat was on - the car park filled up, and eager gardeners emerged scouting for specialty plants. The competition was on, and soon people were seen re-emerging clutching bag loads of prime specimens, loading their cars, before returning to the game for round two!

Stallholders traveled far and wide to exhibit their beautiful offerings at the Fair - from ornamental grasses, to carnivorous fly traps, to alpine varieties and spring bulbs - each stall had something unique to show. The highly knowledgeable stall holders offered fair-goers plenty of hints and tips to help them at home.

After a full morning of plant hunting, gardeners retreated to the Garden Cafe to restore their energies. It seems that Cream Teas are the nutritional choice for welly-wearing competitors - with over 150 of Scampston's famous scones being consumed throughout the day!

It was then time to explore the Walled Garden, and to seek inspiration in the perennial meadow or drifts of grass. Crafts and blooms were on display in the Conservatory. Those that still had reserves of energy took a stroll through the Capability Brown parkland. 
All in all, a good day was had by all! The Plant Fair games will return to Scampston on the 4th June.  

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Collage for Capability

In celebration of Capability Brown's birthday month, this week we held a Family Fun Day here at Scampston. 

Throughout the day we were joined by 60 children who took part in the collaging & crafts, family walks, and the bug hunting in the ponds! 

These incredible collages were created to capture the essence of Brown's landscapes, and the habitats they create - for butterflies, bees and all sorts of other creatures. All the different materials used made an array of different textures and bright colours.

It was a busy day here, but were so pleased to sit back and admire the gorgeous creations which will now take pride of place on display in the Heritage & Learning Centre in Scampston Conservatory 

This event took place as part of a year of celebrations for Capability Brown. Scampston is a hub site for the Capability Brown Festival. 2016 marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of Lancelot 'Capability' Brown, a designer who changed the national landscape. As the first ever celebration of Brown's extensive works, the Capability Brown festiavl 2016 brings together a huge range of events, openings and exhibitions. 

Monday, 15 August 2016

Like a Moth to a Lamp

You might not think a quaint little rural place like Scampston would have much by way of night-life, but there you would be wrong.

Friday 12th August saw us gathering in the dusk for an evening of moth hunting. Julian Small from Natural England set up his moth trap in the garden and as darkness fell the moths and insects came in to the light. 

The public who attended were very hands on and were happy to use our magnifying bug containers to catch the different species and examine them by torchlight. Several rare species of moths and insects were examined.

It was a truly enlightening evening!

If you are interested in any of the events we run at Scampston visit our website 

Thursday, 28 July 2016

A Visit to Scampston's Spring Plant Fair

Thanks to Rodney Anness, a volunteer here at Scampston for submitting his account of a visit to Scampston Walled Garden on our Plant Fair day in June. If you are interested in writing content, taking photos, or volunteering with us at Scampston - please contact to find out more.  The Autumn Plant Fair will take place on the 25th September. 

An incredible number of cars were in the overflow field when we turned into the car park with the plant fair taking place in the usual spot for cars. Big surprise was a happy reunion with Chris who was on gate duty and we knew from our time as volunteers at Nunnington Hall. After what had been an incredibly busy morning, there were now not too many visitors here. We were told that, as it was lunch time, most people were assuaging their pangs of hunger in the Scampston Hall’s splendid café adjacent to the walled garden. This was opportunistic for us as we could see all that was available and chat to the nursery men and women without having to feel obliged to move for others.

First up was an incredible display of ‘Venus Fly Traps’ of various shapes, sizes and colours and very attractive. But they were too reminiscent for us of the deadly plants from John Wyndham’s post-apocalyptic novel, ‘The Day of the Triffids’!

 We had both decided that we had more than enough in our garden without buying anymore-but needless to say we did. We bought a trachelospermum asiaticum a climber for a difficult spot in our garden; a gunnera for our large pond surround and some much needed herbs for the kitchen.

The stallholder kept them for us whilst we went for a walk around the lake and surrounding woodland and back through the historic parkland of Capability Brown fame. Even without the expert assistance from the superbly informed staff it was possible to appreciate the cleverness of the planting that frames the Hall with the lake enhancing and drawing the eye. Nevertheless I made mental note that I must avail myself of the kind offer of a conducted tour which one of the staff made to me when I became a volunteer.

After a super coffee in the café which was still pretty busy, (how hard those ladies work) we returned to the plant fair and picked up our purchases. The stall holder very kindly threw in a lovely pot of African marigolds - a perfect end to a most enjoyable visit.

Rodney Anness, June 2017

Monday, 25 July 2016

The Summer so far at Scampston

It's a beautiful time of year to be at a place like Scampston. The gardens have really reached their peak now, with vibrant colours throughout, and the Perennial Meadow is now at shoulder height. The insect life is teeming throughout the Walled Garden with butterflies and bees wherever you look, and a gentle hum in the air!

It's been a busy few weeks between plant fairs, vintage festivals and car rallies, and the general buzz of visitors to the Hall and gardens. The Hall's short open season is soon to draw to a close; thousands of visitors have joined one of our hall tours this summer.

We greatly enjoyed an open air performance of As You Like It last week, performed by the Three Inch Fools - an incredibly talented young theatre company. The rain cleared as the audience settled down to some impressive picnics, and it turned into a gorgeous summer's evening. Sat to the side of Scampston Hall in the twilight, we listened to beautiful music and watched the tale unravel in perfectly choreographed chaos! Hopefully we will see them back here next summer, as even the Shakespeare skeptics were laughing throughout.

There's lots planned  to amuse the whole family this summer holidays -from children's trails to craft events and bush-craft survival courses. Have a look at our website and see if there is anything which tickles your fancy Or just pop in for an ice cream with a view!

Isobel Pritchard, Marketing & Visitor Services Manager 

Sunday, 19 June 2016

A Visit to the Vintage Car Rally at Scampston Hall

Rodney Anness, a new volunteer at Scampston, reflects on his visit to Scampston Hall's Big Vintage Festival last weekend

The bright friendly welcome from the ticket officer manning the desk (why is it never womanning?) set the tone for an enjoyable visit to the fourth annual vintage car rally in the grounds of Scampston Hall. The rally is organised by the,

‘North of England Classic and Pre War Automobiles Motoring Club’

 who were founded in 1966 so this year is their 60th Anniversary. They are also known informally and with great affection as the,

‘Nearly Everywhere Club for Pretty Well Anything Motoring Club’!

   A break in the drizzly weather which progressively improved as the morning wore on prepared this most un-technically minded photo correspondent for the sight of some 200 lovingly restored vehicles from the 1940s to the 1960s or there about. First impressions were of snaking lines of glittering machinery with attendant acolytes hovering over them, dusters in hand anticipating the admission of the public. Vehicles of every shape, colour and size weaved their way around and over the contours and between Capability Brown’s gloriously positioned trees with the background of the Hall to set off a truly magnificent scene. The splendour of the parkland setting called attention, if it was needed, to the old saying that good design can cope with anything later generations might impose on it. Rather like Shakespearean plays in modern dress the strong underlying structure of the gardens and parkland surrounding the Hall is only enhanced by an invasion that Brown and his successors can never have dreamed of.

    As the public flocked in it was soon apparent that this was a very knowledgeable crowd and very soon bonnets were opened and the finer points of the equally pristine mass of machinery and wiring discussed with much furrowing of brow and thoughtful nods. And what a selection of Britain’s past automotive glory. There were representatives of the Triumph, Javelin, Alvis and Rover factories and many other marques not forgetting the beautiful racy looking, Rileys. More stately representatives from the Rolls, Jaguars and Bentley were (almost) matched by huge cars from America such as Mustangs and an Oldsmobile complete with tail fins of legend. This last model was filled with equally large Teddy bears but not, thankfully, in the driving seat. Manoeuvring these monsters from across the Atlantic must be somewhat problematic around North Yorkshire’s narrow lanes.

    On a lighter note refreshment was being served in a vast marquee and burgers in a American style shiny motor caravan and an old Citroen van complete with its corrugated sides. Near here were a trio of young ladies called, I discovered from their manager, ‘Scarlet Rain’. They were singing hits from the eras represented by cars in the adjacent area and to my very inexpert ear, they sounded pretty good. Some of the appreciative audience were also dressed appropriately to the era of the cars on view but not many sadly of the men. . An exception was a chap with a Biggles style helmet and a magnificent moustache. I didn’t see what vehicle he was driving but I wager it wasn’t an Austin 7.   

    Just before I was leaving I noticed an area of the park reserved for motor bikes amongst which was a motorbike and side car combination. The tank was proudly emblazoned, ‘made in USSR’ and the sidecar had a red star on its camouflaged green sides. What particularly impressed me was the sturdiness of its construction. The metal tubing was of a dimension we normally see on builder’s scaffolding with tyres that I can only describe as ‘knobbly’. A tribute perhaps to the state of some of Russia’s more rural roads.

   A late arrival was an elderly Leyland bus which looked as if it strayed from the set of the old TV drama, ‘All Creatures Great and Small’.

   As I walked back to the exit I saw two elderly gentlemen deep in conversation beside a very venerable drop head Ford which looked to be considerably older than most of the cars on display. One of the chaps was sitting on the wide foot board that ran the length of the car. I asked if I might take a photo and they immediately went to stand and move for me. I explained that I wanted them in a picture beside the Ford to which they readily agreed.

   As I journeyed home I thought of their kind thoughtfulness so typical of everyone I met throughout my visit. My firm conclusion was that the owners of these ‘venerable car’ are not in anyway mere, ‘petrol heads’. They are as passionately determined to preserve these magnificent examples from the recent past as are the custodians of works of art in Scampston Hall and are similarly, very willing to display them to we lucky members of the public.

                                                                                                            Rodney Anness.      


Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Garry Courtnell Exhibits 7th June – 21st August

We are delighted to announce a brand new exhibition is now in situ in the Garden Cafe at Scampston. 

Garry Courtnell paints in oil and acrylic mainly from imagination using the motif of landscape, finding inspiration from places visited, remembered or simply imagined. He creates lively expressive landscapes.

Garry has been a practicing artist & photographer for 25 years though over the past few years has concentrated mainly on painting, receiving much acclaim for his exhibitions in York, Newcastle and his hometown of Hartlepool.

"I have no real notion at the out-set; the painting grows organically out of abstract blotches and marks. I find this way of working appealing as I never know how a painting will turn out. Some do some don’t in which case I just paint over, again and again. Every painting is a journey - an adventure."

Garry's Influences are numerous, but most recently they have been British modernism and Chinese brush painting.

The exhibition will be held in the Garden Cafe from the 7th June until the 21st August, come and take a peek :)