Runner digs deep for historic gardens

11:43 20 May 2014

Chloe Searle hands over a cheque to Gardens of Easton Lodge trustee Angus Drever at the historic venue's open day on Sunday.

Chloe Searle hands over a cheque to Gardens of Easton Lodge trustee Angus Drever at the historic venue's open day on Sunday.

Archant

A keen runner has dug deep for an historic gardens charity where she is a volunteer.

Chloe Searle handed over a cheque for £300 to Gardens of Easton Lodge trustee Angus Drever when the Little Easton attraction held its second main open day of the year on Sunday.

The 33-year-old, a member of Bishop’s Stortford Running Club who moved to the town a year ago from London, where she still works at Scholastic Children’s Books in Euston, raised the cash through sponsorship for completing the recent half marathon in the Forest of Dean.

Chloe became fascinated by the gardens soon after moving to the area, when she learnt about their history and their connection to Daisy, Countess of Warwick after attending one of the guided tours on an open day.

“I fell in love with the Gardens on that first visit,” she said. “I felt really drawn to them and I wanted to get involved, so I started volunteering about six months ago.

“I like to help out on the open Sundays, and at other times when I can, and I am excited to be involved in the project to restore the 17th-century walled garden.”

• The historic Gardens of Easton Lodge date back more than 400 years. Their most renowned owner was the Countess of Warwick, mistress of Edward VII. In 1902 she commissioned leading designer Harold Peto to create stunning formal gardens. Abandoned in 1950 after the demolition of the house, the gardens were forgotten for nearly 45 years. In 1993 an ambitious restoration programme was started. Today the 23 acres of gardens have a magical atmosphere, as the splendour of a century ago is gently revealed, allowing the visitor to imagine their past glories and enjoy their tranquil present.

The next open day at the gardens is on June 22, when the occasion will celebrate Easton Lodge’s involvement in the Second World War.

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