Thursday, 30 October 2014

View from the Garden – The Old Smithy Garden, Godshill

I've been visiting the Isle of Wight for as long as I can remember. Rarely a year goes by without me visiting either just for the day, a weekend or far longer. Whilst there are many places I still haven't been to there are certain spots which seem to be a magnet to me.
I'm not alone in finding myself in Godshill time after time. It really is a chocolate box village. Thatched cottages overlooked by an ancient church perched on God's Hill. Behind the gift shops and tea rooms is a quaint but quirky little garden.
In 1948 a local butcher called Reg Andrews decided to buy the premises that once housed the village blacksmith. By that stage the forge was long gone and a business selling postcards was in its place. The range was expanded to gifts and high-end fashion. After the war car ownership was on the rise and both tourists and locals alike were keen to get out and about. Reg Andrews had the foresight to build a car park to serve not just his business but the whole village and keep it free of charge. 
Reg's real passion though was the gardens at the back of the The Old Smithy. When they first opened there was a charge to walk through. The decision was then made to make it free but take donations for local charities and hospices. Each year they now take between £2-3,000.
Even in late October the gardens still look bright and colourful. The centre is based around a map of the Isle of Wight with some of the island's most notable features such as Carisbrooke Castle represented.
It can never be forgotten that this garden is situated in the Isle of Wight and there is something quite peculiar that can be found in gardens across the Isle of Wight. From Blackgang Chine to the garden at the Needles; goodness even the annual garden show actively welcomes them – they are garden gnomes.
You'll find them working away...
...playing instruments...
...and hiding underneath the fuschias.
Whatever you think of these merry little men perhaps this plaque best sums up Reg Andrew's vision of a garden located in Godshill.


  1. Replies
    1. It really is a lovely little garden that is so well kept.

  2. What a lovely place! It feels tranquil and it looks there like there's lots to see in the nooks and crannies :) The Isle of Wight on my list of places to visit, haven't been there since I was a kid and I fancy exploring it by bike.

    1. It's a very cycle friendly island. There are plenty of cycle routes plus a cycling festival each year. If you can't get your bike across there's a great choice of cycle hire places.

  3. I like the thinking of Reg Andrews! The Isle of Wight is on my list of places to go to too. Like the sound of the festivals :)

    1. The Isle of Wight has the best mix of coast and countryside. Plus great weather most of the time!

  4. So quaint and serene in there! Thanks for sharing photos. Love those small houses! Lovely place. #hdygg

  5. I've not been to the Isle of Wight for years although my oldest niece is living and working over there now. But I think she'd be mortified if I rocked up and said let's go see some gnomes, so maybe I will one day! ;)


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