Montacute Pavilion is a place for all seasons. In winter you can snuggle up inside, warm as toast. There is a gas fire in each of the main rooms on each floor, and separate reverse-cycle airconditioning units in each room. It is very well insulated, with double glazing and well-sealed doors and windows. There is nothing better that to sit upstairs in the cosy warmth, looking out and down onto a wintry garden. (And yes, it does snow occasionally.) In the garden the leaves are bare but there are daphne bushes, hellebores, camellias, and emerging snowdrops and daffodils.
But Montacute is also great as a hilly getaway in the heat of summer (the altitude is 600 metres, or 2000 feet).
The huge chestnuts provide wonderful shade, so that it is never too hot, and the lawn is always lush and green. There are spots to sit everywhere: on the terrace (great in summer; you can move the café tables around to be in sun or shade as you see fit), in the Chinoiserie Fabrique (which is a wonderful suntrap in winter), the Blue Seat in the Quincecunx (a mini-orchard), the seats within the Apple Trellis, in the Raven Seat. Or the cane chairs can be moved to whichever spot in the garden takes your fancy.
All the leaves are in full spread, and there are peaches and nectarines in the Quincecunx, irises, roses, geraniums … . In late January-early February the very old flowering gum comes out, competes with the Chinoiserie Fabrique to see who can create the most spectacular red. And the statue of Pan is framed with tall miscanthus fronds.
Spring is spectacular, starting with daffodils and camellias in September, which modulate into bluebells, with the big rhododendrons getting underway in mid to late October. The Tulip Tree has wonderful flowers.
Autumn in wonderfully mellow, as the chestnuts fall, there are apples and quinces ripening, (and you can help yourself to this fruit. There are autumn crocuses. The leaves begin to turn, and the weather is usually mild all the way through into mid to late May.
Under development is an area of land behind the Woodshed Temple and the Red Gate, which will eventually form a route accessible to guests past the walnut tree across to Stanley Street.