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OK Croquet!

Lady Churchill showing off her croquet skills!

Lady Churchill showing off her croquet skills!

 

The Croquet Lawn at Chartwell can be found above the Orchard and accessed either via a stroll along the Butterfly Walk or as you pass the Churchill pet graves. It’s certainly a favourite area for many of our visitors and is of some historical significance as the picture above shows. This part of the garden was originally a hard tennis court during the early part of the Churchill family’s occupation, but once Sir Winston and Clementine got a little too old for running around the court they had it changed to a more relaxing croquet lawn. Incidentally, there had originally been a much smaller and more informal croquet lawn on the other side of the house above Lady Churchill’s Rose Garden. We still refer to this area as the Old Croquet Lawn today.

 

The new and improved Croquet Hut!

The new and improved Croquet Hut!

 

With the croquet lawn hut now fully restored and looking almost brand spanking new again, we are pleased to invite our visitors to have a quick game when they’re at Chartwell, weather permitting of course, and assuming we’re not charging around with a lawn mower on there! We try and maintain the turf here to a fine standard so don’t blame us if your ball flies into the tightly clipped yew hedge that surrounds the playing arena!

 

Eagle-eyed visitors will notice that the yew hedging was much smaller when this picture from our archives was taken and that the corner bed is conspicuous  by its absence too.

Eagle-eyed visitors will notice that the yew hedging was much smaller when this picture from our archives was taken and that the corner bed is conspicuous by its absence too.

 

This week there has been yet another use for our Croquet Lawn here at Chartwell. On Wednesday and Thursday we have been pleased to welcome a team from The Hawking Centre to carry out a series of falconry experiences with a stunning range of their birds of prey. Some of the stars of the show have included the following performers…

 

This brilliantly named Harris Hawk is Jess

This brilliantly named Harris Hawk is Jess

 

This is Ruby, a Brown Wood Owl from Asia

This is Ruby, a Brown Wood Owl from Asia

 

Coleman here is a gorgeous South American Yellow-Headed Caracara

Coleman here is a gorgeous South American Yellow-Headed Caracara

 

And this impressive European Eagle Owl is named Arthur.  Females of the species get almost twice as  big!

And this impressive European Eagle Owl is named Arthur. Females of the species get almost twice as big!

 

We’ll let you know if and when we have the guys from the Hawking Centre back here again soon but in the meantime I’ll leave you with a taste of what our visitors have been enjoying this week already.

 

A chance to see a wide range of birds of prey...

A chance to see a wide range of birds of prey…

 

Expert talks from members of the Hawking Centre team such as Katie here...

…Expert talks from members of the Hawking Centre team such as Katie here…

...while some lucky visitors get a chance to interact with the birds directly

…while some lucky visitors get a chance to interact with the birds directly

 

This has been a great opportunity for our visitors to take some fantastic photographs of course. If you have taken any pictures of this event or anything else in the gardens and estate at Chartwell there is still time to submit them to our 2014 Chartwell Calendar Photography Competition. Click that link for more details on how to enter. See you next time. Must fly…

Jamie