I visited Kedleston Hall in March on a sunny day, cold but bright. I was greeted outside Derby station with a bright display of Polyanthus, Pansies and Fatsia. A short bus ride takes you almost to the gates of the Hall, where you walk through the parkland with its stunning countryside, river and bridge to the house.
Yet parkland is about all you will see because there is not much of a gardener's garden here. There were a few promising buds and some ancient trees, but not enough to interest the gardener. Bracket fungus on logs by the shop and more parkland behind the house and a tiny garden area by the Church.
Although it is a green and pleasant land, the house sits in a beautiful setting, the NT entrance fee is rather steep at 13.00 gbp, especially at this time of year because the parkland walks were far too muddy, in fact after a few minutes I had to give up. I must admit that my mud-loving days ended decades ago and that there never is a good time to discover that your walking boots leak and this was such a day as I waded over to the drifts of snowdrops.
The lady who had just scanned my membership card ran out of the gate and asked if I had paid, then the lady in the house thought I might be a little too muddy. I felt a bit put out - they were the ones telling people to walk round the fields of mud and I had scrubbed my walking boots on the boot scraper. The house is very interesting, but the NT ended up in my bad books. Not only were the staff here a bit off-putting and not very tactful, I got round the place in about an hour.
Words, images copyright Karen Platt 2017