Hemingford Grey Manor
Hemingford Grey Manor
The historic manor house in the riverside village of Hemingford Grey is one of the oldest continuously inhabited houses in Britain. The moated Manor was built around 1130 in a beautiful location on the south bank of the River Great Ouse, a few miles west of St Ives. The house is set in 4 acres of lovely gardens, famous for their selection of roses and irises.
Over 200 different varieties of old roses are dotted throughout the garden, and numerous examples of award-winning irises. Formal lawns and topiary mix with more informal garden areas to create a quite wonderful setting for the house.

The manor is famous as the model used by author Lucy Boston for her Green Knowe series of childrens' books. The illustrations for the Green Knowe books, drawn by Ms Boston's son Peter, draw on real aspects of the house and ground which will be readily reconized by visitors. Toys used by the fictional characters are on display in the attic.

The garden is open throughout the year, but the house is usually only open to visitors by prior arrangement. Some parking is available for visitors with limited mobility, otherwise visitors should park in the village. The riverside setting makes The Hemingford Grey Manor an ideal stop on a walk along the Ouse Valley Way, the long-distance footpath that runs along the river throughout Huntingdonshire. A short walk along the trail to the east lies the lovely old parish church, whose oddly truncated tower is often pictured in tourist guides to the area.

Visiting
I 'accidentally' visited Hemingford Grey Manor. I was taking the lovely walk between Houghton Mill and St Ives, and as I walked along the riverside path I came to the iron gate to the garden and saw a small sign that said 'Garden Open' and an honesty box. I couldn't resist. I would have loved to see the house interior, but you can actually see quite a bit of the exterior from the gardens. At first glance the manor belies its age, but if you look closer you start to see little clues; a round-headed Norman window in the rear of the house, and stonework carving detail around other doors and windows. The gardens themselves are a delight; with colour everywhere, and fanciful topiary. It is the setting that really makes Hemingford Grey Manor so attractive, with overgrown garden paths and the slowly moving Great Ouse just outside the gates.
Topiary in the Manor garden
Topiary in the Manor garden
The rear of the house
The rear of the house
More topiary and the manor gable end
More topiary and the
manor gable end