Nice house, shame about the ponds

A famous house and garden

On Sunday we visited a big, famous, house which has a nicely laid-out garden.

But oh dear – those ponds.

If I had to look out on ponds like these every day I think I would shoot myself!

Still it’s probably convenient for the Duke of …………………… that I’m happy with a modest suburban garden that has three really interesting ponds in it, rather than wanting to live in a world famous cultural site where the water is about as interesting as the car park.

But I did like the house, though perhaps it’s a little on the unnecessarily large size for one family.

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2 Responses to “Nice house, shame about the ponds”

  1. Archie Lang Says:

    Actually there is (or was) something quite interesting about the ponds at what is quite recognizably Blenheim Palace. Malcolm Smith in the first New Naturalist volume on British amphibians and reptiles (1951) stated that in one of the ponds there had existed for 13 years (and possibly much longer) a colony of Warty (i.e. Great Crested) Newts which never left the water, despite an absence of water plants or mud – there being only a certain amount of debris. Newts taken from the pond and kept in a tank showed no urge ever to leave the water. He pointed out that in a nearby identical pond there was a seasonal population of Warty Newts which came and went in the normal manner. I have never got round to visiting the house, but have always intended, if I did, to try to find out if the newts were still there.

    • Jeremy Biggs Says:

      Hi Archie

      You’re absolutely right, and I have a confession……my main reason for visiting Blenheim was to check out the story you mention. I’d been meaning to visit the ponds for a long time but had been too mean to pay the entrance fee!

      Then this winter we got a cheap deal where a day visit was converted into a season ticket so now we can go as many times as we want for ‘free’. Hooray.

      The only downside with this arrangement is that you can’t get all that close to the ponds – too many fences and ‘Keep Off The Grass Signs’ for a really effective survey.

      I guess one day I’ll have to ask the Duke whether we can have a proper look round.

      But for the record we didn’t see anything as big as a newt the day we went – but I can’t really claim we did a proper survey.

      Jeremy

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