Walks through the Gardens and Parkland.
The gardens around the hall were largely replanted in the years before 1998, when the hotel opened. The garden is delineated by the ha-ha, which probably dates from the 19th century and runs along the east and south side of the Hall.
Notable aspects of today's garden are the pleached lime and laburnum tunnel in the south-east corner, abutting the restored formal knot garden with its clipped yew, box, purple sage, French lavender and santolina. In the centre of the lower parterre, a pleasing feature is the high, circular sorbus hedge within a yew hedge.
Beyond the beech hedge, on the other side of the knot garden, we have the most beautiful, ancient cedar of Lebanon tree. Its age is unclear, as it may well be up to five trees that were lashed together, growing up to look like one. If this is so, the tree dates back to at least 1763, at the time that Capability Brown did most of the planting in the parkland. It may well be several hundred years older than that.
Perhaps the greatest plantsman at Fawsley was a Mr Brown, praised endlessly in theJournal of Horticulture andCottage Gardener, August 1863. At that time the garden was quite extensive and comprised large, mixed borders up to 153 yards long and 9 feet wide, filled with gladioli, petunias, geraniums, hollyhocks, verbena and argentea. There were also peaches, nectarines and melons grown under glass and a fig house. This was possibly at the back of the Georgian stable block. We still have a fig that grows there today. Mr Brown grew not only figs there but also exotic orchids too.
There are many pleasing walks through the parkland; the best is to follow the 'Knightley Way'. The hotel Reception has maps for you to follow. The trail dissects the parkland from the north-east to the south-west. The trail below leads you in the north-easterly direction.
The Knightley Way
This walk will take 40 minutes on the uphill, outward journey, slightly less on the return, and is about 1.5 miles each way. Stop off at the Windmill Inn, Badby, for a good pub lunch before embarking on the return journey. Stout shoes or boots are recommended.
Walk straight across the pasture from the hotel towards the church. Bear sharp left at the church and walk down to the lane (100 metres). On the apex of the second bend in the lane almost opposite you, is the Knightley Way sign pointing up the hill. Pass through the gate and follow the signs to the brow of the hill on the edge of Badby Woods. The avenue of trees is the original route from the main road to Fawsley Hall.
Follow the signs, heading downhill into Badby Woods, which is well known locally for its bluebells in the first two weeks of May. Continue to follow the signs that keep you close to the edge of the woods. You will be walking in an anticlockwise direction around Badby Woods.
The signs will lead you across an open field, down a short hill then up through a narrow path with private gardens on either side. You will be facing Badby church at the end of this path. Bear right down the hill. At the junction turn right and the pub is a few yards along on your left. Follow your footsteps for the return journey.