This estate in the Welsh Marches was home to the Croft family by the time of the Domesday Book, and so it is today. In the hills above the castle are the imposing earthworks of an even older settlement. The ring of deep ditches around the Iron Age hill fort of Croft Ambrey dates from 500 BC and offers an unspoilt panorama to the Welsh mountains and the Malverns.
Thickly wooded parkland and majestic avenues of Spanish chestnuts surround the castle, some parts landscaped in the Picturesque manner. Close to the house, the walled garden produced grapes for wine as well as produce for the café.
The much remodelled castle has delightful Gothick interiors, with furniture in complementary style. A fine collection of paintings decorate the walls, with portraits ranging from Reynolds and Lawrence to de Lázló.
Close by is St Michael’s church and a magnificent early 16th-century altar tomb to Sir Richard and Dame Eleanor Croft.
About the author: Julie MacLusky has written other guides for the National Trust, and acts as a guide to Croft for university student visits.
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