THE Dunheved Flower and Garden Group took their first coach trip outing after lockdown on Thursday, October 21, travelling to Endsleigh Garden Centre near Ivybridge in the morning.

Twenty-nine members and friends were let loose to explore the store for that plant, Christmas gift, book, item of clothing or garden ornament.

A chance to refuel with an all day breakfast and a cuppa or select from the restaurant menu, ready to depart for the afternoon at nearby Lukesland Gardens.

After a week of rain and wind the sun came out on the day to explore the 24-acre family run garden in Dartmoor National Park. Removing their masks John Ellacott chairman asked everyone to line up for a photograph, they then set off through the woodland to meet Lorna Howell who gave a warm welcome and brief history of their family home in the café Old Billiard Room.

In the middle ages, Tin Streamers worked the valley, they disturbed the entire course of Addicombe Brook and left piles of stone and gravel along its sides now the site of Lukesland Gardens. There was a house that is thought to have been Tudor but it disappeared maybe by a dramatic fire from the records around the mid nineteenth century.

The current house was built in 1862 in a distinctive Victorian Gothic style, by W E Matthews. Around 1875 he sold it to James and Barbara Mac Andrew, a Liverpool family shipping line, then in 1930 the house passed to the Howell family. With many years of work in the gardens, following the map members took different ways to find some of its many features.Plenty of clear water from Dartmoor cascaded over the waterfalls and under the different style footbridges between the tranquil ponds and islands intermingled with the odd boat, stone owl or sheep.

The walled garden, a sun-trap where a little splash of Autumn colour and scent of wisteria and herbs, was superseded with the smell of a ‘toffee apple tree’ known as a Katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum).

Members eventually made it back to the tea room to enjoy some homemade cakes with a cup of tea.

John thanked Lorna for such a wonderful afternoon visit again and reminded everybody about Thursday, November 18, in the Central Methodist Church Hall at 2.30pm to 4pm a floral demonstration by Mrs Pat Penno who will give ideas for Christmas decorations and displays.

New members are always welcome. Thanks were also given to Eric the driver for another nice coach outing day.