Slape Manor

Slape Manor

Slape Manor is situated 4 miles north of Bridport near the village of Netherbury. Built in the 17th century as an ecclesiastical court house, it was converted to a manor house in the 18th century, and was sold by the Diocese of Salisbury in the mid-19th century. A library, designed by Thomas Hardy, was added to the west end of the house in the 1870’s. The house takes full advantage of the open view across the sweeping main lawn to the trees and lake beyond. It is interesting to note that there is still a seat for the Canon of Slape in Salisbury Cathedral.

Set in the sheltered valley of the River Brit, the gardens are well protected from the worst of the winds, and have a particularly friendly and welcoming feel. This protection ensures the early flowering of many plants and shrubs.

The current owners have undertaken considerable planting of camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas, all of which produce a magnificent display in the Spring and early Summer. Thanks to the warm location, some varieties have been known to flower from October onwards. The gardens also contain a splendid white wysteria as well as several large magnolias. One area currently under development is the Italian garden containing a sunken lily pond completely surrounded by yew and beech hedges. It is hoped to restore the original fresh water feed to the pond. A stream with pools and waterfalls meanders through the garden to the lake.

Approximately half a mile further down the valley is Slape Mill which, up until the end of the Second World War, was used to manufacture flax. Flax was a most necessary raw material for the long established rope making industry for which Bridport was, and still is, famous.

6 Responses to Slape Manor

  1. shirley says:

    I have been staying in weytown with my daughter and have taken a walk around to The river cottage , stunning was my first thought , the whole area is Beautiful , I did live in Beaminster for 12 years , was lovely to come back for a short holiday , I love Dorset …

  2. Hilary says:

    When is the fair this year?

  3. charmouthannie says:

    This is somewhere I would like to visit, I have lived in the area for 6 years and so far have not been to Slape Manor. Are the gardens open all year?

    • There is a public footpath which starts at the main entrance to Slape Manor, on the road from Netherbury to Waytown – it goes down the drive, once past the two cottages on the left you can either turn right and walk to Waytown (this path follows the river and the edge of Slape Manor gardens) or carry straight on and walk past ‘River Cottage’ back to the bridge in Netherbury.

      The gardens were open as part of NGS on 30 May but are not open at other times to the public.

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