Restoring the landscape vision

Early views

Castle Drogo 1940s

When Julius Drewe starting building Castle Drogo he had a clear vision of the views he wanted from his castle.

He asked Sir Edwin Lutyens to plant Scots pine trees to create a feel of the Scottish highlands leading up to the castle walls. The Scots pines were planted to shield the castle from the weather, but also planted thinly enough so that the Drewe’s could maintain key views both from the castle and into the castle from the surrounding area.

Over the years trees have self-seeded in between the Scots pines and this is a far cry from the vision that was intended. Earlier in the year some trees were cut down, the results compared to the very early photos are breathtaking.

view 1

The view of the south end of the castle 2014


view 2

The view of the south end of the castle 2015


earlt views 2

Castle Drogo still being built


Unsung volunteers


Our last story is from Hazel who is a plant centre volunteer and garden tour guide;

I have always loved gardening. When I worked as an NHSmanger, it proved to be a great stress-buster. Upon my retirement, as a carer for my parents, I could let off steam by tending their lovely garden, full of Rhododendrons, just like Castle Drogo.

Last year, finding myself with time to spare, following their sad demise, I paid a visit to Castle Drogo. I was immediately drawn to the garden feeling there was something special here. I approached Laurence (volunteer co-ordinator), to ask if there was a vacancy for a volunteer in the plant centre, I was struck be the friendliness of everybody I met.

I started volunteering in April last year; initially my duties were to tend the plants in the plant centre. Laurence asked me if I would be willing to undertake conducting a garden tour to add to our visitor’s enjoyment. As I can talk for England, I was keen to give it a try!

Within 2 weeks, I had boned up on the history of the Castle and the Gardens and nervously conducted my first tour. I need not have worried, the people I took around the garden were lovely and their positive comments gave me confidence.

Now I work on a Monday, there is a team of 4 of us, Mary, Helen, Julie and myself. Collectively we are responsible for looking after the plant centre plants, weeding watering & merchandising, making the plants look as good as possible, so that hopefully, people are tempted to buy. In addition we conduct up to 2 garden tours a day. We tell people all about the gardens, giving a brief history of how it all came to be here.

I love my day each week at Castle Drogo, from the start I have felt well supported by both the staff and volunteers. I hope to continue in this role for many years to come.

If you’d like to get involved at Castle Drogo please contact our volunteer coordinator, Laurence Harvey on 01647 434114 or email

Coming soon… a new view

Get ready for the latest widescreen panoramic viewing experience… our brand new viewing tower is now built and we are busy training up our fantastic team of volunteers to run it. Watch this space and be among the first to see Castle Drogo from a perch usually reserved for crows and sparrows!

Drogo View