(As we resume these weekly Tips, it appears to me that may I have not sent Tip Number 26, one on Heaven's Gate, that I wrote in July. If you have already received this, please excuse me, if not, enjoy!)
Longleat is the estate of Alexander Thynn, or as he is better known in most circles, Lord Bath. On the eastern boundary of Somerset County in Wiltshire next to Cley Hill, Longleat is a beautiful manorial garden designed in the Eighteenth Century by Capability Brown. There is an entry fee to visit most of the estate, and for that one gets to drive through an outdoor zoo where among other animals, monkeys do their best to strip the exterior of your automobile of all rubber bits and pieces. It boasts one of the world’s longest permanent hedge mazes and, of course, the ability to visit Lord Bath’s - dare I say - regal estate.
But I want to tell you about a part of Longleat that is absolutely free to enter called Heaven’s Gate. I went there earlier this summer with a Men’s Group that has been meeting in Glastonbury for a number of years. We walked to the site on a beautifully kept path and lawns bordered by some of Capability’s gorgeous and magnificently tall trees. After we went through a rather dark tunnel of trees and bushes, we came upon a large open space that has a new installation of a crescent of enormous standing stones that are focused on a huge thirteen sided donut constructed for the Millennium by landscape artist Paul Norris. I think with just a few words of explanation, these pictures speak for themselves:
A number of our group were called to stand in the Gate/Portal
that was truly a modern power spot.
Hugh looks through the veil
But some of us were content to walk to the far end of the field
to sit on the benches and eat our picnic dinners
while looking down at the magnificent view as the land drops off
on to Lord Baths estate.
Heaven's Gate is one of the most inspiring new scared spaces that I have ever visited. It is a combination of beautifully landscaped garden path, an awe inspiring installation of truly megalithic proportions, and exquisite bucolic view of England's green and pleasant land.
A truly memorable gift to the country by one of our more eccentric and generous Lords.
9, Bove Town
Somerset BA6 8JE
+44 (0)1458 835 818
p.s. The British Society of Dowsers' Annual Conference this year is coming up shortly. It will be held at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, UK, and runs from 25 to 27 September. I am speaking there on Sunday. Contact the BSD for further info.