The English Garden

WHITE MAGIC

The approach to Beckley Park is a three-quarter-mile rough track flanked with staddle stones and parkland trees. It’s barely negotiable in midwinter, but the destination is worth the ride. With snow outlining hedges and topiary, the silence is absolute in this romantic, moated garden on the edge of Otmoor. Unbelievably it is just five miles from Oxford city centre.

The unadorned, five-bay redbrick front looks just like a comfortable farmhouse and gives little indication of what lies behind it. Look to one side, however, and you will spot a hedge-topped, turreted wall rising from a moat. Then, around the corner of the house, you are confronted by a very different, castellated facade, with three projecting towers. It is here that you enter a magical world of water

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