Visit to Exbury Gardens

Thursday 7 June saw 31 souls consisting of members, wives, lady friends and some from the Ladies Probus Club of Basingstoke having a splendid trip by coach to Exbury Gardens.

Situated at the southern end of the New Forest and adjacent to the Beaulieu River the property was bought by the de Rothschild family in 1918. During WW2 the house was used by General Eisenhower, Churchill and General Montgomery to plan the D Day landings.

It has been a lifetime’s work for several generations of the de Rothschild family in creating one of the finest woodland gardens in the country extending to over 250 acres. Described as, ”bankers by hobby, and gardeners by profession” the gardens also include a narrow gauge steam railway conceived in 2000 and taking over two years to bring to fulfilment.

It had been hoped that the rhododendrons would still be in bloom but this year’s spring weather put paid to that although there are a few late varieties still in flower. Our group had the benefit of a guided tour while some less mobile used the services of a golf buggy complete with informative driver. The afternoon encouraged a ride on the steam train which took in parts of the garden not accessible on foot.