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“Once in a lifetime visit...(you won't want to go again)” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of Stone Lane Gardens

Stone Lane Gardens
Ranked #2 of 7 things to do in Chagford
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: An enchanting 5-acre woodland garden on the edge of the Dartmoor National Park in Devon, famous for National Collections of Birch trees and Alder trees and the annual ‘Mythic Garden’ sculpture exhibition. Winner of the Gardener’s World magazine ‘Gardens to Visit SW’ award 2010.
Paignton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
115 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 120 helpful votes
“Once in a lifetime visit...(you won't want to go again)”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 22, 2012

Being avid readers of Gardens World, my wife and i decided to make the 100 mile round trip from our home in Torbay via the beauty of Dartmoor to visit Stone Lane gardens. The drive was wonderful and due to the good weather we saw Dartmoor at its majestic best. Upon finding Stone Lane gardens things got progressively weirder by the minute..
Firstly we found a car park notice which (confusingly) appeared to direct us into a farm yard within which a farmer appeared to be busily engaged in shearing his flock of sheep.
As the yard gate was securely closed, I asked if this was indeed the car park for the gardens. He stopped his shearing and opened the gate, directing us through the farmyard to a field behind the farm outhouses.
I would think you would easily miss the car park if you thought the sign misleading as we first did.
Having parked the car there was another sign directing us back into the narrow lane system and saying that we should walk "200 yards further down the lane and find the garden entrance there". Again, if the weather had been less kind, you could get pretty wet during the walk to the entrance. At the 200 yard point we found another sign telling us to pay our admission at the fram house before crossing the road and entering the gardens proper....I wonder how many people actually just walk straight into the gardens?
We duly entered the farmhouse yard and found another sign directing us to the farmhouse door and an 'honesty box' within which we were asked (by yet more signs) to leave our entrance fee. For those with just notes, there was a ceramic bowl containing several pounds worth of coins as change!
At no time did we see another living soul,,,things seemed really weird and there was an aura of hippydom about the place.
My wife said it was like something out of Alice Through the Looking glass, especially when we saw yet another sign directing us to the toilets. The stipulated door leading into what appeared to be a scullery building complete with someones klitchen table and kitchen sink, alongside of which was a (working?) shower (presumably for customers use if they got too hot during the garden walk or 200 yard walk to the entrance!
Having completed our experience of abject honesty, we crossed the road and entered the garden complete with map kindly provided on loan from the farmhouse outbuilding adjacent to the 'Honesty box'.
Not sure why a map was needed as the 'garden' path system is essentialy so easy to follow you are able to complete a full circumference of the 'garden' in about 45 minutes (and that includes a 15 minute stop for a picnic lunch). The 'garden' is not much more than a large field which has at some time had several dozen birch trees planted randomly within its confines.
To give some contrast, there are 3 or 4 'ponds' half of which are so overgrown you can barely recognise them as ponds at all..
Unless you have a fetish about birch trees and pretty second rate pieces of moss encrusted 'scupltures' you won't find very much to inspire you at Stoney Lane.
Was the trip worth the effort?
Only in that we had a good day out driving through Dartmoor to visit the place.
The entrance fee is only £5, but in all honestly, it's barely worth that.
Only consider this a visit if you are very close by and are bored out of your mind for something to do....go and visit one of the other more noteworthy gardens that abound in Devon and Cornwall.

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
5 Thank vialli54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
551641Paul_B, Manager at Stone Lane Gardens, responded to this review, July 25, 2012
We always welcome comments from our visitors but were all horrified to read that someone had felt so negative about the garden. We are a very small charity that run the garden and National Collections of Birch and Alder trees on a very small budget. We have only one paid member of staff and so we rely on an honesty box system for when we are not at the entrance. However, the owner has said she met these visitors and asked them if they needed any help. But our focus is on the important National collections of trees that we look after, most of which are rarely seen in this country. Most garden lovers would agree that being able to see these trees collected from all over the northern hemisphere in one place is a rare privilege and I am sorry this visitor did not appreciate their fine qualities.
The car park isn’t ideal and we are currently engaged in a planning application to improve this. It was unfortunate that this visitor had to contend with sheep in the yard and we can only apologise for that.
This is a nationally significant collection of Betula and Alnus (Birch and Alder) trees, supported by Plant Heritage. The garden was lovingly landscaped over a period of 40 years by one of the country’s leading experts on Birch. There are hundreds of trees, grouped together in small copses, showing off the amazing range of bark colours and textures of these versatile and attractive trees. The ‘map’ is actually our garden guide and includes a wealth of information about the trees. We like to think our visitors come away from the garden with a much greater knowledge about trees and their place in the landscape.
I am truly sorry that this visitor did not enjoy the garden. Most people love it and we have the testimonials and garden magazine articles to prove it. We were winner of the Gardener’s World magazine ‘Gardens to Visit SW’ award 2010 – voted for by Gardeners World readers.
I would be more than happy to give this visitor a free personal tour around the garden to try to impress on them its significance.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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44 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    26
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Exeter, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
84 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Beautifully strange”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 13, 2012 via mobile

Our friends found this place - it is not necessarily somewhere you would find easily. It is positioned beautifully with amazing views of Dartmoor. We parked in a part of a field - fortunately it was dry so not muddy. Having walked past some lovely farm machinery we made our way down to the garden entrance. Do not expect to be able to pay by card, it is a cash only place - quaint. The gardens are beautiful and I fell in love with woodland and birch trees all over again. The place is very natural and this just makes the positioning of the "mythic garden sculpture exhibition" a wonderful experience. Not everything was to my taste but it makes you think! Having said that there were some things I would buy if I could. Definitely worth a visit.

Helpful?
3 Thank Mis88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Exeter,UK
Level Contributor
47 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“We go every year”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 31, 2011

We make a pilgrimage every year to the annual Sculpture Exhibition at the Mythic Garden. Our friends love it too. I would suggest visiting on a breezy day to get the most from all those birch trees singing in the wind. It's great to get the children looking for all the sculptures hiding away in secret dells, in pools or up in the trees. Nip off afterwards for lunch at the Drewe Arms, Drewsteignton.

Visited September 2011
Helpful?
4 Thank aircut666
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shrewsbury, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
30 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“A beautiful place”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 22, 2011

I was not sure quite what to expect, but visited anyway. It is a beautiful, serene place to wander around, admire the trees and discover some weird, wacky and wonderful sculpture.

Visited September 2011
Helpful?
3 Thank Nigel D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Devon
Level Contributor
52 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Quirky and inspiring - definitely worth a visit!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 18, 2011

A superb relaxing experience. Wonderful garden with amazing sculptures that blend in with the local environment & nature.

I'm not normally interested in this kind of thing (i.e. sculpture) but this was different...

Visited August 2011
Helpful?
2 Thank Boveyphil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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