Castle Drogo

by Don Hyatt

The Trip to Castle Drogo

Castle Drogo, Brittain's most recent castle, was built between 1911 to 1931 by India tea baron, Julius Drewe. Located on a 650 acre estate in the beautiful Devon countryside near Exeter, the castle has a commanding view of the region. The building design was conceived by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the same famed architect who had collaborated with Gertrude Jekyll at Hestercombe Gardens, our stop earlier in the day.

As we pulled into the parking area, we could see the clouds gathering. Umbrellas in hand, we rushed down the long driveway, just managing to reach the castle as the rains hit. Fortunately, we were scheduled for a private tour of the castle first rather than the garden. Since I was just beginning to dry out from my dunking at Hestercombe, I was not anxious to get wet again.

The rain was over by the time we finished the castle tour, so we were able to walk through the gardens back to the parking area. The formal Rose Garden was not in bloom and nor were the herbs in the Herb Garden. The purple wisteria was putting on quite a show, and we were amazed at the angular yew hedges. I wondered how they kept such sharp corners.

Eventually we reached the formal Croquet Lawn, a stark circular region of closely mowed grass surrounded by a tall, heavily pruned yew hedge. Does anybody really play croquet anymore?

Vistas of the Garden

The Shrub Border

The Herb and Rose Garden

Angular Yew Hedges

Croquet Lawn and Living Fence