On your doorstep: Lodge Park & Sherborne Park Estate

An insignificant sign off the A40, heading towards Cheltenham, points to Lodge Park, one of the National Trust’s lesser known, but very unusual properties.  At first glance, there is nothing remarkable about this rather grand but four-square stone edifice, sitting in the middle of open ground. But perhaps the word ‘grand’ gives the game away, for this is perhaps the only building in the country designed as a grandstand for watching deer coursing.

Dating back to 1634, Lodge Park was erected to satisfy John ‘Crump’ Dutton’s love of gambling and entertainment.  Although it was subsequently made suitable for domestic purposes, its stern façade remains unchanged; it is a lookout post, a position from which to follow the chase.

Nowadays, it is open in the season over long weekends (Friday-Monday inclusive) to a steady trickle of visitors keen to enjoy a unique building and its grounds.  It is part and parcel of the Sherborne Park estate, much of which lies on the opposite side of the A40. That area includes extensive woodland walks, snowdrop woods and a sculpture trail as well as a glorious stretch of water meadows fringing the Windrush; these grounds are open throughout the year.  The estate rose to prominence when it became the home of the Springwatch TV series. For readers of The Wychwood Magazine, a visit is highly recommended.

August-September 2019