The History of Dewstow

"This was a garden, the like of which is not
known to exist anywhere else"

In 1893, "Mr Henry Roger Keane Oakley" became the owner of the Dewstow Estate. Henry Oakley, or Squire Oakley as he was known locally was a director on the Great Western Railway (GWR), but at home, he had two main interests. The first was the breeding of Shire Horses for which he established a reputation for his Horses which were all names with the prefix of "Dewstow"

His other main interest was the growing and cultivation of Ferns, Tropical Flowers and Plants. Shortly after his arrival at Dewstow, he embarked on the creation of a Garden which is remembered by some of the older generation in the area as a wondrous and magical place.

This was a garden, the like of which is not known to exist anywhere else. On the ground level, there were many Rock Gardens, Ponds, Water features, Ornamental areas, Tropical Glass Houses and a vast variety of Plants, Shrubs and Trees from around the world. These were Spectacular, but not unique.

It is only when you go below these gardens, and you enter the subterranean world underneath, that you begin to


Henry Oakley

understand the extent of the vision and enormous amount of work and skills involved in creating Gardens that were unique at the turn of the 20th Century and as far as we know are still unique at the start of the 21st Century.

Most of the surface gardens were filled in at various points over the years, but excavation has shown that what has been uncovered so far is in excellent condition.

All the glass houses have long gone, as have the ornaments and many special features around the gardens which have been, either broken up or sold by previous owners. The underground network is now opened up and but for a few repairs is in good condition.

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