We’ve only just landed in the new forest, but we wanted to check out some local hidden gems such as this. We parked in the free car park, and as we walked in, we came across this idyllic picturesque thatched building with a whimsical winding path down to a beautiful body of water. As we were walking through the gardens, we noticed various children getting very excited to see the numerous tiny fairy doors hidden within the few beautifully (almost organically grown) built wooden huts. It certainly made me smile when I overheard that they had found the fairies they were looking for.
The gardens are built on a bit of a slope but have been excellently designed for you just to get lost in the massive array of stunning and exotic plants and trees. My favourite plant was one that looked like giant green rhubarb, with its leaves that shadowing even 5.7″ of me; I felt rather short next to it, I can tell you, but added a sense of wonder and magic to the place.
The gardens also have an eloquent little shop and cafe; although we didn’t stay for tea, we had a look around anyway. We came across a room in which touched on the charitable work by Minstead Training Trust. This organisation works closely with people who have additional needs and supports them in learning new skills and offers guidance in creating beautiful pieces of artwork. It was great to know the gardens are not only a source of wonder for both adult and child but a fully fledged part of helping the local community.
Minstead Training Trust is the co charity that works with Furzey gardens. We were fortunate to be invited into Minstead lodge, the main base where the majority of the outstanding work happens with the vulnerable adults. Upon our visit to Furzey, we didn’t grasp the enormity of the incredible work that is done by the Minstead Training Trusts workers and volunteers. Within Minsteads base they not only provide multiple spaces such as woodworking shop, agricultural space, a fully fledged catering kitchen, and an arts studio, but they are also give them the opportunity to stay on site too. With the several houses on and off-site shows the extent of how this charity is helping those students to not only gain valuable life skills but self independence too, but it doesn’t stop there. Minstead Training Trust also helps those who are able to seek paid work and encouraging them to become fully fledged members of society.
Minstead lodge is such an inspiring and beautiful place to visit; the main building is a stunning mansion with the most beautiful period features. The conference/training rooms they hire out are so exquisitely decorated with the most beautiful views of the gardens.
The students also have the opportunity to sell their wares, such as the artwork, the sweet treats and their woodwork creations. The plants and seeds that are nurtured at Minstead lodge make their way to be sold at Furzey. This just shows how important both charities and sites are to each other, not to mention the valuable time donated by the workers and volunteers. So if you live within the new forest area and have time to spare, please enquire at both Furzey gardens or Minstead Lodge, I’m quite sure they would love to hear from you.
We would highly recommend a visit to Furzey gardens it’s such a stunning place, although the suggested entry price (a donation) may put off some nut please remember that it is for a great cause. We spent about an hour or so walking around but we could of this easily stayed longer if we had remembered our packed lunches. It was very enjoyable and my partner Lee took some lovely photos.
A lovely way to spend our time.