The Ormidale gardens are gorgeous – lovely to explore and relaxing to be in. At the same time as the Scottish architect Robert Lorimer started on the house at the end of the nineteenth century, the gardens and grounds were laid out and landscaped by Thomas Mawson of Kendal, a major figure in Victorian Landscape gardening. Set amidst the 20 acres of woodland, and enjoying lovely views across the glen and up the mountain, the formal gardens he designed are mainly laid to lawn and terrace with hydrangeas, rhodedendron and azalea, as well as reputedly the tallest Grecian fir in Scotland.
Our own woods feature numerous tree species and adjoin thousands of acres of forestry commission land through which guests are welcome to wander. One of our terraces features a Grade A listed sundial.
A tributary of the river Ruel runs through the gardens, down from the Lochen that supplies Ormidale’s private water supply. There is a lovely waterfall walk within the garden, and a rope-assisted climb down to a pool for outdoor bathing. The walk up to the Lochen itself is a wee climb, but really worth it. It’s a fabulous location for kids.
We’ve added a sunken trampoline, croquet set and football goals to what nature has provided as a playground, and we’ve installed three midge machines to keep the other type of annoying wee bu$$ers at bay!!
Each of the three houses has its own private terrace and enjoys the use of a private bit of lawned garden, with the tennis court, football pitch, woods, river, and front field all shared. The main house has the biggest lawn, and the Mill house has a lovely garden dropping down to the river. The Old Barn has a less generous private lawned area by comparison but still has space for adults to sit out and enjoy sunshine and for children to play.
We have been in debate with the council health and safety department over the construction of large wooden outdoor children’s play areas. We want to build a big fun adventure playground, to be used sensibly by children of an appropriate age and with parental consent and supervision. We’d also like to build a smaller scale space for smaller children. Neither scheme has yet been approved. We need to find a way through the health and safety legislation and reach some sort of sensible conclusion.
In the interim, we have a full size commercial bouncy castle sitting outside the games cottage near the swimming pool. And there are a thousand trees to climb…