Fifty three of us left Dulwich early, on the morning of June 19th, for the Garden Group’s outing to the Savill Garden at Windsor. Fortunately it was a fine day after all the heavy rain of previous weeks. The Savill Garden was created by Sir Eric Savill in the 1930’s, with the support of King George V and Queen Mary. It is a well-signposted garden and for two hours we were able to wander at will through woodland and informal planting, by the lake bordered by many water-loving plants and through areas of native and exotic species to the new Rose Garden, with many different cultivars, opened in 2010 by HM the Queen.
After lunch in the new bright and airy Savill Building, we were transported a short distance by coach to Runnymede for a boat trip to Windsor and back. We were given a running commentary on the way and told many interesting anecdotes. We saw Beryl Reid’s house, which, in her will, had been left to her many cats; when the last one died recently the house was sold for an enormous sum! We passed by a weir, through the Old Windsor Lock, one of the few remaining operated by a lock-keeper living on-site and under two bridges named ‘Victoria’ and ‘Albert’ built on the orders of Queen Victoria to facilitate her travel to Windsor Castle. Apparently this was the first time the launch had been able to pass under the bridges for many weeks, as with heavy rain the river had been too swollen.
Soon after this a small canal was pointed out which was the original entrance to Windsor Castle by royal barge, used by Henry VIII when coming from Westminster and indeed was the way that Anne Boleyn was taken on her last journey to the Tower of London! Finally we saw Windsor Castle from the river, fronted by manicured lawns, a beautiful sight. On our way back to Runnymede welcome tea and scones were provided. We then boarded the coach back to Dulwich after a full and most enjoyable day.