Sunday, 6 April 2008

Snow in April!

Ashdown House opened for the season on 2nd April and on Saturday 5th I had the pleasure of showing about 30 visitors around the house. Whilst the first tour was looking at the views from the roof the herd of fallow deer came out from beneath the trees to graze on the North Avenue. There was one white hart in the herd. In Arthurian legend the white hart is a mystical beast pursued by the knights of the round table. It was also the heraldic symbol of King Richard II of England. I have only ever seen one white hart before, in the New Forest. This one was a young deer and scampered around with the rest of the herd before they settled to graze on the avenue in full view of the delighted visitors.

This morning we awoke to a blanket of snow and headed to Ashdown woods for our morning walk. The trees looked absolutely beautiful with snow on all the bare boughs whilst the primroses and early bluebells were hidden. As we walked along the Avenue we saw a barn owl coasting along the rides hunting. It followed us, dipping between the snow laden trees and adding another element to the magical atmosphere of the place. This was the heaviest snowfall of the "winter" at Ashdown this year and looked absolutely enchanting.