On the 15thApril at the Woodhouse Eaves Village Hall The Friends of the Charnwood Forest had a talk on Stoneywell Cottage, and, in particular, its gardens. Mr Roy Mitchell started the story of Stonewell’s history with a list of personalities and some statistics. Apparently the Cottage came into existance when, through an arrangement with a local farmer, the land was exchanged for a farm house designed and built by the Gimsons. Later an adjoining patch of wood was purchased.
The Gimson family were part of the Arts and Crafts movement which was a reaction to the industry of Victorian Britain.
The orginal setting of the Cottage was intended to be wild, although a few trees were planted and paths were landscaped. It was intended as a summer retreat only (plus Christmas), which is as well as the pantry regularly flooded in winter. In the 1950’s Donald Gimson and his family used it as a full-time residence. He and his wife were keen gardeners; she kept meticulous notes on the garden. By 2013 it had become too much for him, and control passed to the National Trust. It seems that this transfer was somewhat irregular financially.
The talk finished with a series of pictures taken though the year which showed some of the garden’s floral highlights. Incidentally, with the help of those notes, the garden is maintained by 200 volunteers.
Dr D McNeil
Friends of the Charnwood Forest