Imagine a little bit of heaven in Devon! My visit to Docton Mill today was just that. This is a simply glorious garden just a stone's throw from the North Devon coast near Barnstaple, and as you approach the Mill you have wonderful views of Lundy Island and the Bristol Channel. I've read about this garden many times, but I've never been in the area before, so on my return from Cornwall today, I went out of my way to visit.
The mill at Docton dates back to Saxon times and although there was a garden there in the 20th century - tended by Iris and Norman Pugh, commemorated at the entrance by current owners - it is John and Lana Borrett - the current custodians of this heavenly spot who have breathed new life into the gardens in the last ten years. They arrived here in 1999 and although they had no prior knowledge of gardens and gardening at all, they have made the Mill what it is today - an absolute paradise!
I know how the roses smelled in September, and that's enough to etch Docton Mill on my brain until the spring! This is certainly a great place to stop for lunch - Lana's home cooking is a real joy and we enjoyed wonderful fresh food here. My husband had the best Cornish pasty (and this isn't even Cornwall) and I had delicious home-made soup. But you can also have an award-winning cream tea here.
Docton Mill is located on the Hartland Peninsula - designated an area of outstanding natural beauty. It's near enough to Bideford to take the passenger ferry to Lundy Island for a day trip if you're so inclined. I'll be reviewing all the glorious Cornish gardens I visited in the next few weeks, but this garden took my breath away, so I've sneaked it in today.