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We are delighted to return our beloved punt, Constance, back to the calm waters of the Pear Pond. The punt was designed and built by the Beautiful Boat Company in Lyme Regis, who will be offering rides to Hestercombe members and visitors throughout the day and into the early evening.

Rides on the punt cost £1 per person (please bring cash), plus standard gardens admission (members free).

We aim to commence punting at 11am!


Restoring Edwardian Elegance: About the Hestercombe punt

The painstaking process of returning a punt to the Pear Pond began when Philip White MBE, Chief Executive of the Hestercombe Gardens Trust, discovered six photographs of a punt from around 1904.

As he explains: “I asked a boatbuilder about these photographs some years ago who said it was an unusual punt; shorter and deeper than most estate or lake punts and finely built in the Thames tradition. Ever since I have wanted to see a punt back on the Pear Pond as we suspect the one in the photographs was sold at the estate sale in 1951.”

Few visitors will know that Hestercombe has the remains of a boathouse on another, currently unrestored, lake, which suggests there may originally have been two punts on the estate. The boat house provided crucial evidence about the length of the punt and suggested that it had a maximum length of about 18 feet. Armed with this information and his passion to see a boat afloat again at Hestercombe, a chance meeting between Philip and Simon Olszowski, a founding Director of The Beautiful Boat Company, established by graduates of Lyme Regis’ world-renowned Boat Building Academy, led to the punt commission.

As Sam Smith, another Beautiful Boat Company Director, explains “We were thrilled to be shown these intriguing photographs, and be asked if we could start from scratch, piecing together as much information as possible about design from historic plans, drawings and photographs. We then worked with Philip to agree specification and hull colour and set to work sourcing beautiful wood for the boat’s interior and trim. We used a mix of modern and traditional skills to create a punt in keeping with its heritage and with a traditional look and feel.”

Read more about Hestercombe's punt restoration


Large Display Model Boats

As an added treat, our purveyor of model boats, Vernon, will be bringing along a variety of his larger models, and displaying them on the Mill Pond. They won't be available to have a go on yourself, but you'll be able to marvel at their build quality and uniqueness all day long! Vernon has built these model boats himself, and they range from pusher tugs to speed boats and German pilot boats, among others.

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Membership at Hestercombe

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Described as “one of the top twenty gardens to visit in the country”, Hestercombe is always beautiful throughout the year. Join today and enjoy unlimited access, with prices from £41.50 per year.

Your membership includes:

  • Unlimited access to Hestercombe Gardens for a year from date of joining for the Member, guests and children according to membership type
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Event Location

Hestercombe Gardens
Cheddon Fitzpaine
Taunton
Somerset
TA2 8LG
Punt photo summer late 2019

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