Friday, 17 May 2013

Ightham Mote and the Bluebell Wood

Last week I visited a favourite National Trust (NT) property of mine, Igtham Mote in Kent. If you ever find yourselves in Kent it should be on your must see list. The property is one of the few moated houses which still exist in the UK and it dates from the 14th Century. It was left to the National trust by Charles Robinson a wealthy Canadian who saved it from ruin and re development.  After they inherited it in 1985 the NT spent millions bringing it back from the brink of decay. I visit this house most years with my parents and I have been delighted to see all the restoration take place. This is now finished and the house stands in all its glory.
The medieval house is completely surround by the moat.

The entrance of course is over the (now permanent and made of stone) draw bridge

It is a large house set around a quadrangle. The photo below is looking back from the inside to the photo above, if that makes sense?

The rooms are quite amazing and one of my favourite is the ancient chapel on the top floor which you can see from the outside in the photo above. You can see some of the stained glass there too.
The grand entrance hall has a picture of the lady of the house dating from the 15th Century.

There was a fire burning in the fireplace that day but the fireplace was a later addition. When the house was first built the fire would have been in the centre of the "hall" and there would have been an opening in the ceiling of the room. How cold these houses must have been in the winter. We also learnt that the reason the 4 poster beds had canopies was not just to keep the cold out but to stop the bat and occasional bird droppings falling on you as your slept ;0)

Here is one of the Selby family ladies. The family  lived in the house from the 1591 until 1889.
We have seen the inside of the house many times so I did not take lots of photos as the other reason we had come to Ightham was to see the renowned bluebells on their estate.
The grounds around the house are also worthy of a visit. Here are a couple of photos I took en route to the woods.

The one advantage of all the rain we have had is how lush and green the English coutryside is looking at the moment. I really love the photo above....Constable would have enjoyed painting that wouldn't he with those fluffy marshmallow clouds in the sky.
We walked the short walk up through the estate to the woods are were totally delighted at what we saw as the bluebells were out in all their wonderful glory.

There were drift upon drift of these amazing English bluebells and the sweet scent hung on the air. It really was a sight to behold and it took my breath away. I have mentioned this before, real English bluebells have their flowers only on one side of their stalk. Sadly the continental bluebell is fast hybridizing our gardens  so you really need to get out to the woodlands to find the original English bluebells.

Here is a close up and you can see how the flowers hang just on one side of the stalk. Sooo pretty.

There were lots of different blue shades
and we even found a patch of white..perhaps these are albino?

It was hard to tear ourselves away as it was so beautiful. However our tummies were calling us for our packed lunch which we sat and ate in the picnic spot whilst the birds sang from the trees to us. It was a wonderful day out in the English countryside.

My card today is inspired by English gardens and is one using a great digi stamp by Ladybug Crafts ink
This image has been very popular in my Etsy shop and I have sold several colour ways. This colour way just had to be blue, as inspired by the bluebell woods.
I have coloured it with my Promarkers and highlighted with my Prismacolor pencils.
I have used pretty Prima Papers from the Jack and Jill set.and added a LOTV sentiment.

It is for sale here in my Etsy shop and just for this week I am offering FREE shipping to anyone in the UK. Sadly I cannot offer this to my overseas buyers as postage is so expensive now but as a thank you to all my overseas blog readers I will take off £1.10 (the equivalent of the UK shipping charge). This applies to all my cards, jewellery and bag charms in my shop so do take a browse. The code to use is BLUEBELLS2013 for UK buyers. If you are abroad please email me or contact me via Etsy before purchasing as this code will not work for you. I will re list the item with the money taken off. If there are any problems I will refund any overcharged monies via PayPal.

I would like to enter my card into the following card challenges;

Whimsy card challenge anything goes #59
Papertake Weekly The sound of music My song inspiration just has to be the 1960s tune "English country garden" by Jimmie Rodgers...I can't get it out of my head now. Put it into Google and you will find it on You Tube.....LOL a real 60s classic ;0) I can remember it as a kid.
Natalie and Amy things with wings #9
The Cupboard trilogy Spring Flowers
Emerald Faeries Ribbon #43
Simon Says Stamp flower power
Crafts and Me Use a digi #133
I love Promarkers Simpy does it #168

Thanks for visiting me. Do remember that I have a candy running on this post. You could win the sweet baby digi stamp I used for my card there. Just leave a comment on that post and I will be back with the 2 winners and another of my Guest Design cards for Ladybug Crafts Ink on Tuesday.

I hope you enjoyed your virtual visit with me to the beautiful English countryside. All we need now is some sustained sunny weather...hmmm, that's another story I think. Enjoy the upcoming weekend. I have the day off from work as does my daughter. We are meeting half way to enjoy Ladies' lunch and a little retail therapy ;0)

Back soon,

Bye for now,

Jane x


  1. Lovely Jane, this is a beautiful post..your pics of the bluebell woods are stunning! They are my favourite flower and you have captured them so wonderfully. How I would have loved to join you on your trip around such a special house (It will be added to my wish list along with Chatsworth which I long to visit one day!)
    Happy Weekend to you,
    Susan x
    P.S Gorgeously pretty of my favourites!

  2. What a fantastic house, isn't it great that these wonderful places are preserved!
    The woods looked spectacular and I'm sure even more so in real life!
    I love that little watering can image that you use on your cards, so pretty!
    Enjoy your girly day out and have a lovely weekend,
    V xxx

  3. What a fabulous place and how wonderful to come upon those pretty. x

  4. It looks like a beautiful place to visit Jane, we are very think on the ground for historical houses in this part of the Country. That said we do of course have Cambridge which people travel for all over the world to visit, funny how when it's on your doorstep you overlook it.

    No bluebells here as yet but they are budding up at long last.

    Nice card btw.

    B x

  5. Breathtaking bluebell pictures, Jane! The close up one looks so clear I could almost smell the perfume! I loved seeing your pictures of Ightham Mote, it is so pretty and steeped in history. We went there a few years ago when staying in Kent and really enjoyed it. Your bluebell inspired card is very sweet.
    I hope you had a lovely time with your daughter, and have a wonderful weekend.
    Helen x

  6. Ah Jane, thanks for sharing this virtual walk in the English countryside- in full bloom, no less! Love the blue theme this week along with your cheerful garden themed card- Enjoy your visit with your daughter and hope that "therapy" yields some fun results! :o)

  7. Such a pretty card, I love the image. I'm humming that tune now too! Thanks for joining us at I Love Promarkers xx

  8. Great pictures and I love your card. Thanks for taking part at I ♥ Promarkers this week.

  9. The house gardens look wonderful, I love to go see these 'big house' gardens, and then imagine mine was like that! We've got NT membership and we've been on a few lovely days out. I've been taking bluebell this week too, although somehow what I see doesn't transfer to the camera. Lovely card, very pretty!

  10. What an enchanted place! I can imagine fairies flying amidst the bluebells---it looks magical.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Jane T

  11. Amazingly beautiful, Jane! I love the English nature and gardens and wish I could once have there long holidays and go around by car! You have lots of rain but then you have that beauty! Bluebells are the sweetest! Your card is beuatiful! x Teje

  12. wow what gorgeous pics.. i just love bluebells and could manage to live in a house like that!
    Your card is beautiful... i miss being in my garden due to the horrid weather
    Lisa x

  13. wow you take the most fabulous pictures ever, makes you want to go visit also and love your card a lovely image and beautiful colouring too
    Hugs Kate xx

  14. Hello dear Jane,

    What a beautiful post, I loved seeing pictures from your trip. And oh those bluebells...So pretty! And the card is equally (no, more!) beautiful!

    Happy Mom&Daughter-time, it's ever so necessary these days ;)


  15. I just love country houses and that one is delightful, I must put that on my 'go and see list'. My friend and I meet up all over the UK, she is in Essex me in Hereford, and have visited some beautiful NT places. Thank you for sharing your lovely pictures Jane, I will think of you now whilst walking amongst the bluebells in our woods x

  16. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!!!

  17. What a beautiful card, thank you so much for joining in with our challenge over at The Cupboard Trilogy Challenge Blog.

    Stella xx

    TCT DT

  18. A gorgeous card, beautifully coloured of the wonderful image and great details. Your photo's are stunning!!

    Thanks so much for joining us at Simon Says Stamp cahllenge,
    Heather xx

  19. Wow that place looks amazing and know wonder you like to visit it...

    As for your card...its gorgeous card hun and thank you for popping by mine and leaving such a sweet comment on my Little Claires card recently...means a lot!!
    hugs and xxx

  20. Lovely moat house and super lovely bluebells. I'm glad you could visit this house again. If I ever return to Kent, I'd love to stop there.

    Enjoy your day with Millie.

    Best wishes,
    Anne x
    PlumCreek Studio

  21. Gorgeous card Jane, love the sweet image and pretty details.

    Donna x

  22. This is one of my favourite NT houses as well - we take all our visitors there! I agree on the rain and lush greenness, I'm enjoying how bright everything is at the moment. Good luck with another fab card :) Bethx

  23. Brilliant pictures of your day out, Jane! We love visiting old country houses and castles and you've captured those bluebell woods beautifully!
    Love your gardening card, too - great papers, CAS layout and fab colouring! Hugs, Lisa x

  24. Oh Jane, your photos and descriptions are just marvelous. I am so happy to be able to vicariously enjoy them through your posts! What a beautiful place..and such gorgeous bluebells. I can only imagine how wonderful they smelled. We recently were walking in a forest of redwoods that opened up to a husband pointed out to the kids that there were a whole lot of bugs flying around...and upon further inspection, we were delighted to see that they were all ladybugs! It was INCREDIBLE! Oh such gifts nature gives us each day. Always so good to see your kind visit Jane. I am wishing you well and goodness, your cards just get better and better! I'm so impressed!


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Jane x