The castle was built in the 14C beside the River Bewl at the bottom of a wooded valley just south of Lamberhurst, to guard against French raiders from the coast and one romantic round tower survives. A manor house was added around 1630, possibly to a design by Inigo Jones, and then this followed the same route to decay as the medieval castle. Together they form the centrepiece of a magnificent hillside garden. Scotney Castle, Kent
In 1778 Edward Hussey bought Scotney and, because the low damp situation of the castle was considered unhealthy, a new Victorian mansion was built at the top of the hill overlooking the valley and moated ruins. Hussey planted a profusion of trees and masses of Kalmia, azaleas and rhododendrons so that Scotney is a blaze of colour in early summer. His descendent Christopher Hussey was a keen gardener and writer of garden history books and when he died without an heir he left the estate to the National Trust just ensuring that his widow Betty could continue to live there. She had many friends, including Margaret Thatcher who had a small office and flat there. On Mrs. Hussey’s death, aged 99 years in 2006, the National Trust opened the house to the public leaving it exactly as she had lived in it. It is a touching tribute to the Hussey’s devoted life at Scotney Castle.
The estate comprises 770 acres with trails through the hillside gardens and lovely woodland. It truly is a gorgeous location; the garden is a delight, and the views across the wooded valley are superb. The National Trust has its regional headquarters here.
Flora Garden Tours visit this garden on the Romantic Gardens of Kent, Sussex and Surrey tour. Kalmia in flower, Scotney Castle
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