An Arts and Crafts National Trust property set in the Charnwood Forest, Stoneywell Cottage was designed by Ernest Gimpson and completed in 1898 for his brother Sydney, as a holiday retreat away from the intensive industry and dense population of Leicester at the end of the 19th Century.
Donald Gimpson, Great-nephew to Ernest, with his wife Anne made this cottage their full time family home in the 1950’s and devoted the rest of their lives to creating much of the garden as we see it today. Stoneywell Cottage remained in the Gimpson family until 2012 at which point the National Trust took the opportunity to purchase it from Donald, thereby preserving its unique heritage for us all.
In the Spring of 2012 the National Trust put a call out for willing volunteers to help restore the gardens to an earlier glory. I was one of those fortunate to be selected to join this honored team. We immediately set to work with gusto working non stop through heat wave, gales, snow and persistent rain to prepare its opening to the public in the Spring of 2015.
During my time there I often wandered around the gardens at tea breaks, delighting at the changes each month and attempting to capture its glory in photograph. Over this time my new creative business was also growing and eventually I made the difficult decision to hang up my gardening fork and devote more time to this personal venture.
Stoneywell Cottage continues to give a sense of escape and peace from the hustle and bustle of modern life. It is a place of enchantment that seems to capture the hearts of all those who enter it’s gates. It will certainly always be in my heart and I like to think I left a bit of myself there too.
You can find Stoneywell just off Junction 22 of the M1. Please note you will need to pre-book your visit at least 24 hrs in advance.
This latest work is inspired by our recent ventures out into the beautiful Derbyshire Peaks and Dales. An area full of nature’s beauty and splendour.
Our campsite was next to the village of Birchover ”.. situated close to several prehistoric monuments, including Doll Tor and Nine Ladies Bronze Age stone circles and numerous Bronze Age burial cairns on Stanton Moor… There is also the Earl Grey Tower, raised as a monument to the passing of the 1832 Electoral Reform Act and much evidence of ancient and modern sandstone quarrying”.
With no provisions to speak of in our trusty motor home Gordon, and the devastating news the pubs in the village were all closed for the day, we set out on foot, in earnest search of food and a pint.
We decided to try our luck at the The Flying Childers Inn at Stanton on Peak, about 1.5 miles away, so headed off hopefully along Birchover Road . On arrival we were greeted with the news that the kitchen was shut but (seeing our looks of desperation) were then asked , ‘would you like to help yourselves to the pork pies, sausage rolls and sandwiches on the bar. Here I will get you some plates’. Much later, after many a pint, we ambled contentedly back to Gordon and slept peacefully on full stomachs thanks to local warmth and hospitality.
Later that week , back in my studio and full of inspiration, I set to with pen and paper to create my first of what will hopefully be a series based on my various visits to this beloved part of the country. My creative process starts with a line drawing, then layers of colour are gradually applied, to produce the final piece.
This design is available to purchase in the following product ranges:
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