Win a romantic wedding shoot in Dartmoor

You could win an exclusive wedding shoot at the Italian Garden

You could win an exclusive wedding shoot at the Italian Garden - Credit: Vicky Gardner

We are offering one lucky reader the chance to win a romantic wedding shoot at an exclusive Dartmoor location.

Others have since fallen in love with the garden’s magical atmosphere.

Others have since fallen in love with the garden’s magical atmosphere. - Credit: Vicky Gardner

Kim Partridge vividly remembers the day she first set foot in The Italian Garden. “The sun was setting, it was late in the afternoon on a warm, still summer’s evening and it was incredible - the garden revealed itself to us in a way we couldn’t imagine.”

Created at the turn of the 20th century, this four-acre pleasure garden near Ipplepen, Devon, was abandoned in the 1960s and left untended. Despite some careful work to try and clear paths in the 1980s, behind its 15ft boundary walls, nature had taken over; trees, ferns, brambles and dense vegetation covered what remained of both its planting layout and built structures.

Finding her way along a path, Kim walked deeper into the garden. “I felt like a child who’d landed in Narnia…it was wild, fantastic and romantic.”

In 2016, Kim and her husband Tim, along with their friends Stephanie and Duncan Berry, had successfully bid against around 150 others, to become owners of The Italian Garden. Once part of an estate on the edge of Dartmoor, it was a rare find, and one which marked the beginning of a major restoration project for Kim and Stephanie.

The garden was completed in 1912 as an enclosed and private space, just a short distance from Great Ambrook, the former home of its owner, Arthur Smith Graham. It was designed by the architect Thomas Henry Lyon and included several structures - a summerhouse/observatory, a swimming pool with sunbathing terrace and an octagonal plunge pool, overlooking a tennis court.

Neither Kim nor Stephanie had been looking for a garden to restore. The two friends each have careers that keep them busy - Kim is an interior designer in London and Stephanie is a garden designer living in Amsterdam - but their initial intrigue and excitement rapidly turned into an overwhelming passion for this lost treasure.

This four-acre pleasure garden was abandoned in the 1960s and left untended.

This four-acre pleasure garden was abandoned in the 1960s and left untended. - Credit: Vicky Gardner

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Others have since fallen in love with the garden’s magical atmosphere, including a group of 25 volunteers who spend all their free time tackling the undergrowth, cutting back and clearing enormous amounts of vegetation.

This work has to be done but, says Stephanie: “We don’t want to lose the sense of it being a lost, magic garden - we want to protect the feel of the garden.”

theitaliangarden.org

WIN A WEDDING SHOOT IN THE GARDEN

Without doubt, The Italian Garden is one of the most romantic, secret spots in the county.

With its moss and fern-covered walls, secret corners and hidden pathways, along with views across to Dartmoor, The Italian

The Italian Garden was a rare find.

The Italian Garden was a rare find. - Credit: Vicky Gardner

Garden is a photographer’s dream – as can be seen in the images taken by garden photographer Vicki Gardner for this feature.

As it’s February, the month of Romance, Stephanie and Kim are offering one lucky couple a chance to win a fantastic photo shoot in The Italian Garden with acclaimed international wedding and portrait photographer Martyn Norsworthy.

This prize, worth approximately £780, comprises: A couple’s portrait session at The Gardens, full editing and retouching, presented in a boxed keepsake USB plus a 19x14 wall frame or acrylic panel

To be in with a chance of winning visit devonlife.co.uk and click on the Competitions & Offers tab to find the competition question.

Closing date is 25 February

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