Killerton garden winter walk

Killerton House, Broadclyst, Exeter, Devon EX5 3LE

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Cyclamen carpet the ground in winter © M. Jarvis

Cyclamen carpet the ground in winter

Explore the garden to see such gems as the Tibetan Cherry Tree © M. Jarvis

Explore the garden to see such gems as the Tibetan Cherry Tree

The grove of birch trees in the light at Killerton © M. Jarvis

The grove of birch trees in the light at Killerton

Route overview

Take a stroll around the chapel and house gardens. See the colourful barks not usually visible in spring and summer, and admire winter and early spring flowers.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Map for the Garden Winter Walk, Killerton, Devon
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Stable Block, grid ref: SS977001

  1. Walking out of the stable block turn right. Turn right again up to the chapel grounds to see the cyclamen carpeting the ground, a spectacular sight and well worth the walk.

    Show/HideCyclamen at the chapel

    Follow the looping path around the chapel grounds to see the vivid purple of cyclamen blanketing the ground in a stunning display in January and February.

    Cyclamen carpet the ground in winter © M. Jarvis
  2. Retrace your steps down to the main path again and turn right along that path towards the house. Once you reach the forecourt walk through the garden gate. At the end of the house turn right up the gravel path.

  3. Follow the path around the curve to the left and on to the straight, then take the next right uphill.

  4. Just beyond the thatched buildings on your right is a winter bed with hellebores ranging from white to purple, and winter sweet. On your left are crocuses and early spring bulbs in the grass. Also, along the grass path on your left, you can see a Tibetan cherry tree.

    Show/HideTibetan cherry tree

    Wander off the beaten path to get a closer look at the glorious glossy, burgundy bark on this Tibetan cherry tree. This species was brought back to England from China in 1908 by Ernest Wilson, one of the most successful plant hunters for Veitch Nurseries, who were closely associated with Killerton. The tree is grown in particular for its beautiful stem and does not flower much.

    Explore the garden to see such gems as the Tibetan Cherry Tree © M. Jarvis
  5. Follow the gravel path uphill. You can see the dried heads from hydrangeas, coloured stems, crocuses and other early flowers.

  6. Along the path on your right you'll see a giant redwood. On your left are excellent examples of the Victorian fascination for dark, brooding conifers. (If you fancy some great views you can walk uphill here and find the higher paths - just remember to return to the main path afterwards.)

  7. Continue along the beech walk and cross the rustic bridge. Walk on, and on your right look out for the grove of white-stemmed birches.

    Show/HideBirch grove

    Enjoy the spectacular sight of this ghostly grove of white-stemmed birches. In recent years rhododendrons have been cleared away from their stems to open up the area and make the grove more visible.

    The grove of birch trees in the light at Killerton © M. Jarvis
  8. Walk downhill and enjoy sweeping views across parkland to Dartmoor on your right. Pass the memorial cross and walk down to a fork in the path. Nestled in the fork is the umbrella pine, whose needles look like umbrella spokes.

  9. Take the left-hand path and see the Bears Hut and Rock Garden. Return to the fork and walk downhill, looking out for red-stemmed cornus on your right.

  10. At the curve look downhill to see signs of early bulbs and, beyond, winter interest plants. You may be able to see the red and orange stems of the striking cornus midwinter fire.

  11. Continue along the gravel path towards the house, and enjoy views of the house, garden and parkland. Walk down the gravel path by the house, turn left and return to the Forecourt.

End: Forecourt

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 1 mile (1.6km)
  • Time: 1 hour
  • OS Map: Landranger 192
  • Terrain:

    A walk of approximately 1 mile (1.6km) on fairly easy terrain along gravelled footpaths around the chapel and house gardens. Some steep inclines. Optional walk to higher terrain on ungravelled path in the main garden. Rock Garden has intricate stepped paths. Only assistance dogs are allowed.

  • How to get here:

    By bike: National Cycle Network Route 52, see Sustrans

    By bus: Services 1/1A/1B from Exeter to Tiverton, alight Killerton aka Silverton Turn, ½ mile (0.8km) walk to house 

    By train: Pinhoe, not Sunday, 4.5 miles (7km); Whimple, 6 miles (9.6km); Exeter Central and St David's, both 7 miles (11km)

    By car: Off Exeter to Cullompton road (B3181); from M5 northbound, exit 30 via Pinhoe and Broadclyst; from M5 southbound, exit 28

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