Situated in the green and abundant countryside of Somerset, The Newt is a rare treasure. This magnificent hotel and country estate boasts incredible woodland and gardens with plantings influenced by thousands of years of horticultural history.
Having previously supplied The Newt in 2021 with over 1,000m² of our Wildflower Turf Landscape 34 turf, and 1,400m² of our Wildflower Turf Native Enriched product, we recently paid a visit to this intriguing and ever-evolving destination.
The Newt seamlessly combines a 5-star hotel, restaurants, spa and a cyder (cider) cellar, which produces Somerset’s favourite tipple using state-of-the-art equipment. But it is the extensive grounds that really capture the imagination and delight the senses.
The name of the Estate comes from the population of newts that live in the grounds. The ethos of the Newt is said to stem from “a deep respect for the land, its animals, and its environment, as well as a passion for horticulture and agriculture”, and this is very apparent in all that The Newt offers up.
With over 30 acres of garden and hundreds of acres of woodland and farmland, this expansive estate has embraced the use of wildflowers as part of its transformation and the result is simply stunning.
The owners and visionaries behind The Newt, Karen Roos and Koos Bekker, are the former founders of South Africa’s renowned Cape Dutch hotel and farm, Babylonstoren. Their newest venture has been six years in the making and there are still many wheels in motion, so we can expect to see further initiatives from The Newt as it cements itself as a “must-visit” for anyone with even a passing interest in gardens and nature.
With space galore, The Newt also comprises a Farm Shop, selling produce from the working estate and the extensive kitchen garden. Think venison, dairy, speciality bread, cheese, cider and the freshest of fruit and vegetables. Seasonal workshops are offered in abundance; choose from a mushroom masterclass, skep making or (our personal favourite) an after-hours Flight of the Bumblebee tour, led by the Estate’s Head Beekeeper. What better way to close off a day than by being led through a vast wildflower meadow, looking at life from a bee’s perspective?
Visitors to The Newt can also keep buzzy in the Beezantium, a lakeside apiary for honey bees situated in the grounds. The walls of the apiary include habitats for wild bees, solitary bees and other species, with the uniquely designed building also serving as an interactive, educational showcase for hotel guests and visitors.
Another recently unveiled attraction is that of Villa Ventorum (Villa of the Winds), a reconstruction of a Romano-British villa found on the estate, dating back to 351 AD. The archaeological and educational experience is positioned over the original villa’s foundations and ruins. Reconstructed by a team of archaeologists, architects, engineers and craftsmen over a period of seven years, the Villa is reached through a meadow of oxe-eye daisies.
Wildflowers are never often out of view at The Newt. The area below the Garden Café has also been rewilded, with views across the wildflowers to the kitchen garden and orchards below.
Inspired to visit? Visit The Newt in Somerset’s website to learn more. Alternatively, you can also peruse their wonderful online shop and enjoy a whole raft of produce delivered direct to your door. You can also follow The Newt in Somerset on Instagram.
DID YOU KNOW? The witches scene in Shakespeare’s, “Macbeth” describes a gruesome concoction that consists of “Eye of newt and toe of frog, Wool of bat and tongue of dog…” However, these terms refer to plants, not actual animal parts. Eye of newt is actually a pseudonym for mustard seed!!