Thursday, 5 March 2009

Greenway House open to the public

Back in the year 2000 the National Trust were fortunate enough to acquire Greenway House and Gardens from the descendants of crime novelist Agatha Christie. Idyllically situated on the east bank of the River Dart just across the water from Dittisham it was Ms Christie's holiday home from 1938 to 1959. For a period during the Second World War it was commandeered by the US Navy. Now a haven of tranquillity and following a substantial restoration the public are able to visit both house and gardens.

This home has quite a long history more of which can be read here. Evidently it dates back to the time of the Gilberts of Elizabethan fame.

Although the House has only been open since last Saturday it has been possible to visit the surrounding grounds for quite a while. In fact a friend and I did just that a few years ago (not sure when but certainly well before I started blogging). Killing two birds with one stone we participated in a canoe expedition starting from Tuckenhay on Bow Creek that took us out on to the main estuary and down river to land at Greenway. These weren't individual canoes you understand but one monster craft with, I can't remember the exact number, but it must have been about 12 individuals. An interesting experience. Canoeing is an activity I regret not having done more of; I had a previous go at it on the Tamar many years before the Dart journey, again a well organised arrangement but in that instance it was all about one and two seat canoes.

The National Trust are well used to dealing with hordes of people but in the case of Greenway road access is far from good. So well done to the NT for encouraging alternative "greener" ways of getting there. So walking, cycling or use of a bus are suggested for arriving by land. What I particularly like is the possibility of coming up by ferry from Dartmouth. Our river estuaries in Devon and Cornwall are very underused in "getting from A to B"; I'm no sailor but there is something different, something special about arriving at your destination by water. Quite rightly we extol the magnificent coast and moorland in our peninsula but our drowned river estuaries or 'rias' if you wish to be technical are very very special. I remember a few years ago organising an evening boat trip for our local history group from Fowey up the river of the same name and then traversing the fabulous Lerryn Creek, that perfect mix of water and woodland that was supposed to have inspired the writing of 'Wind in the Willows'.

Never mind about Lerryn, back to Greenway and the Dart. I seem to recall that Agatha Christie is the most widely read author in the World, might be wrong but I believe that there are more copies of her books printed than 'The Bible'! Whatever, we do have an outstanding literary heritage in the UK and I believe that the numbers of visitors to Greenway both from this country and abroad will be very substantial. Let's see what happens.

1 comment:

David Stevenson said...

Having arrived from Brixham across fields with spectacular views, I was dismayed to find a 3 hour wait before I could visit the House. Charming as the gardens may be, there is not enough there to sustain such a visit or warrant the entry fee. Furthermore, the "arriving by 'greenways'" discount has been discontinued. So, unless you are a devoted Christie fan, you'd be better served all round by visiting Coleton Fishacre, up the road, where all is serene and user friendly.