Philipps House and Dinton Park
Philipps House and Dinton Park
Philipp's House is an early 19th century manor in Neo-Classical style, built in 1820 on the site of a 17th century house by Jeffry Wyatville for William Wyndham, one of the most influential politicians of the late Georgian era. The house features an attractive collection of Regency furniture and decorative furnishings.
The original house on the site was built in the 17th century and had been owned by the Wyndham family since 1689. 

The house is composed of a two-storey rectangular block of 9 bays, with a service courtyard and stables behind. It is built of limestone ashlar under a roof of Welsh slate. Philipps House is set in attractive parkland which offers a number of woodland walks in a peaceful setting.

Philipps House was among the first houses in England to be built with a central heating system, with hot air supplied by a boiler in the basement and routed by pumps into the stairwell.

The Wyndham family fell on hard times and were forced to sell the property in 1917. Bertram Philipps purchased the property and named the house, but not the parkland, after himself. Philipps later rented the house to the YWCA and moved to nearby Hyde's House, where he lived until his death in 1943.

Mr Philipps bequeathed the house and surrounding parkland to the National Trust. However, there was a catch; the house had to be leased to the YWCA as long as they wanted it, for a token 'peppercorn rent'. The YWCA used Philipps House as an artist's retreat, offering art courses and space for studios. The YWCA left in 1995, and the National Trust restored the house to residential use and leased the house to a tenant.

Since the house is tenanted it is rarely open to the public, but its a different story for the surrounding parkland. Below the house spread out open grasslands dotted with trees, leading down to a large ornamental lake where swans swim at leisure. Paths cut through the tall grass make Dinton Park a delight for walkers, with wide-ranging views that take in Salisbury Cathedral on a clear day.

Above the house is Dinton Wood, where trails lead through woodland planted with colourful rhododendrons. The Wood gives access to Wick Ball Camp, an Iron Age hillfort. It is facinating to see

It is fascinating to see the rolling grasslands of the park today and realise that during WWII the park was home to the US Army and Nissen huts dotted the parkland like so many mushrooms.

Visiting

There is a small parking area directly below the Dinton parish church on St Mary's Road, off the B3089 at the western edge of the village. From the parking area a trail leads to the parkland below the house, which you can spot on the hill above to your right. To your left is the ornamental lake, and half-hidden in the trees to your right is Hyde's House (not open to the public), where Bertram Philipps lived until his death. One thing I was hoping to find was an informational panel or map of the parkland.

One thing I was hoping to find was an informational panel or map of the parkland. Unfortunately there are no useful maps or other signs to help you navigate the park, which is a real shame. That said, it is hard to go wrong if you stick to the lovely, open grassland. I did get briefly lost in Dinton Wood, however! I took the chance to walk directly in front of Philipps House so I could get a close look at the architecture. Wyatt and the Wyndhams did not go in for overt ostentation; the style is sombre, even heavy. This is a house that sends a message about the owners; that they are sold citizens, respectable, not showy or flashy.