ハイクレア城(Highclere Castle)のお庭 ~その2~

ロンドン
ハイクレア城

前回に続きハイクレア城のお庭散策。私がハイクレア城を訪れたのは2018年8月20日で2年半近く経っていますが(2021年1月現在)、この時はまだ映画化の話しも公表されておらず、ドラマ放送も2015年12月で終了していたので観光客の人数も大混雑期を過ぎていたと思います。
が、それでもダウントン・アビーの世界中のファンは絶えることなく訪れています。

前回紹介した「僧侶の庭」を奥に進むと「シークレットガーデン」への扉があります。扉の向こうには静かな森のお庭が広がっています。たくさんの花と木々は友人からの贈り物だったりハイクレア城で働くスタッフへの想いを込めて植えられたものもあるようです。
現在の城主はお城で色々なイベントを開催されているようなので、機会があればハイクレア城の歴史だけではなくお庭の歴史も聞いてみたいですね。

撮影したお花の名前を調べてみると、お花の種類には元の種から改良された種があって更にその種を改良して、更に更にその種を・・・
と、本当に沢山の種類と名前があり、それぞれに花言葉もあり、その花言葉もお花の色でそれぞれあって・・・
正直、山歩きで花の種類を何も見なくてわかる専門家っているのだろうか?と思ってしまうほど種類豊富。犬や猫も人工的な交配で作り上げられている種類もいるし、宗教ではないけど人間の倫理とは?と考えてしまいます。

シークレットガーデンを進むと小道へと続きます。
ここに紹介しているお花はほんの一部です。これからハイクレア城を訪れようと考える場合は、1日ゆっくりお城と敷地内の散策をご検討ください。ダウントンアビーのドラマの影響でお城の外観から内部までに大感動すると思いますが、お庭も広くて素敵なお花や木々でゆっくりとした時間を過ごすのもお勧めです。
山歩きをするイメージの装備でいくと快適ですよ。

それではお城へと戻ります。

城内を2時間歩き周り、敷地内を40分程歩き回ったところでようやく足を休めるため木製ベンチに座る。
ただこのベンチ、座席部分がとても広い!
背もたれにもたれかかるように深く座ると足首近くまでずっぽり座れてしまう。
手作り感満載の自然なベンチはずっと座っていると木のぬくもりを感じるんだろうとは思いますが、自分は木の硬さがお尻に直接伝わって長く座ってられなかったです。
ちょっとお天気も曇っていたので8月なのに肌寒かったというのもありますが。
夏場とはいえ、やはり大自然の山の中にあるお城なので夕方まで滞在するのであれば上着があると良いかもしれません。

約1時間30分のお庭散策。
実は事前にお城の情報などを調べず行き当たりばったりで観光にきてしまったため敷地内も4分の1くらいしか見てまわれていません・・・。
他にも歴史的建造物のJackdaws CastleやLondon Lodge Gate、Milford Lakeなど見所は沢山あるようです。

ハイクレア城の城内観光が終わりツアーの出口を出るとショップとカフェ、お手洗いがあります。
トラディショナルなアフタヌーンティータイムもいいなと思ったのですが、甘いものは沢山食べられる方ではないのとお昼ご飯にハニーサンドイッチとフルーツを持参して電車の中で食べて来たのもありカフェには入りませんでした。
ハイクレア城のホームページやツアーサイトなどを閲覧すると、本格的なアフタヌーンティーは事前予約制のようです。ただ観光してた時は予約なしでも入店してるように見えたのでコース的なものでなければ普通のカフェのように入れるのかも知れません。

ショップにはダウントンアビーに関するグッズ(ロゴ入りの布製品や帽子などなど)や、キッチングッズ、書籍、ハイクレア城のハンドメイド食品(蜂蜜、ジャムなど)がありました。
店内はそんなに広い(例えばディズニーランドのお土産売り場的な規模)わけではなく、最大ピークの時ではなかったにしても店内はダウントンアビーファンでいっぱいだったので撮影は控えました。
とっても残念に思うのは食品類を買って帰れないことで、国内に持ち帰れないのではなく単純に瓶に入ったジャムや蜂蜜をスーツケースに入れて持ち運ぶにはまだまだ旅行期間があるのと、恐らく自然加工食品なので日保ちもしないかもと思って断念。実際はちゃんとパッキングして帰れば日本に持って帰れると思うのですが。
今回は、ダウントンアビーのロゴ入りハイクレア城の絵が描いてあるメガネ拭きとトッフィーを2箱、書籍を2冊お買い上げしました。書籍も読みたいものが沢山あったのですが、持って帰れる重さではなかったのと、もしかしたらAmazonとかで買えたりするのかも?という思いで2冊にとどめました。

ロバート・ソーヤー卿の教区教会
ハイクレア・エステートは、1679年にチャールズ2世とジェームズ2世の検事総長であったロバート・ソーヤー卿によって購入されました。

彼は1692年にこの家と財産を一人娘のマーガレットに遺贈。

その後、第8代ペンブローク伯爵との結婚によりハイクレアはカーナーボン伯爵家の先祖であるハーバート家の傘下に入りました。

ロバート卿はこの場所に教区教会を建てました。今でも教会の壁の基礎の跡を見ることができますが、これは今日の建物の唯一の証拠です。

この教会は、後のジョージ王朝時代の邸宅やヴィクトリア朝時代のハイクレア城よりも前に建てられた、エリズベスタンの「ハイクレアプレイスハウス」の隣にあったと考えられています。

さて、城内観光とお庭散策で4時間30分くらいの滞在。
駅までのタクシーを待つ間、ハイクレア城オリジナルのトラディショナルクラフトビールで喉を潤す。
こちらのビールは地元の醸造所で造られているようです。

ここまでは夢のようなお城に現在生活している伯爵、伯爵夫人を熱い眼差しで見つめる限りでしたが、現実的な話をするとやはりお城の維持費というのはとてつもない費用がかかり、この歴史あるハイクレア城も敷地の一部を切り売りしてきた過去もあるようです。
この度のダウントンアビーのドラマ撮影による観光収益は維持費にも貢献してるでしょうし、地元にも沢山の収益の機会を生み出した地域復興の成功例の1つでしょう。
イギリスの貴族の歴史を読んでみても時代の流れとともに館の維持費工面がとても大変だった話しもありますしおとぎ話も現実的な面ではご苦労もあるようで。

18時前にタクシーに乗って駅へと向かいました。
日帰り観光だったのでNewbury駅から電車に揺られてパディントン駅へと帰路へとつきました。
また機会があればハイクレア城を訪れたいと思います。

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