In the midst of the Covid-19 epidemic I took my family to visit Greenway House, the home of Agatha Christie for 40 years until her death in 1978 and now in the care of the National Trust. Sadly, coronavirus restrictions meant that the house itself was not open but we managed a pleasant walk around the gardens.
Starting close to the house, we first visited the two walled gardens. The South walled garden takes the form of a large lawn surrounded by formal beds, with an ornate glasshouse on its north side and a vinery along the eastern edge. The North one is much more of a working garden with a long glass peach house and other glasshouses in which the gardeners were busy raising new stock.
Left to right: South walled garden; path to North walled garden; South walled garden from above.
A short climb brought us to the clock golf lawn with its borders of grasses and dahlias, and then on to the fernery with a pool and fountain at its centre:
Left to right: grass and dahlia borders surround the clock golf lawn; the fernery has a pool and fountain at its centre (click on arrows to scroll)
We made a short detour to see the sculpture "Greenway Mother and Child" by Bridget McCrum (1987) then walked along a woodland path to the Top Garden, admiring the views of the River Dart below us. Our visit took place in August so we were too late for the rhodedendrons and camellias, but there were still some flowers to hold our interest:
We then wound our way downhill, pausing to admire the exotic black bamboo and palm trees and a lovely statue of Japanese Goddess of Mercy, Kwan Yin, standing in a tranquil pond:
Finally we stopped off to admire the views of the river from the Boathouse and the Battery before making our way back up the hill to the cafe for a welcome drink:
Greenway House is situated at the end of a narrow, winding road which had us holding our breath every time we rounded a bend. The cafe is small but carries a reasonable selection of drinks and snacks which you can eat in the courtyard. We visited on an extremely hot day and the walks were fairly demanding in the heat, although less steep alternatives were marked on the map. Overall the garden was a pleasant place to visit but nothing special in high summer so if you're not a National Trust member I'd recommend sticking to the coastal footpath which has amazing views and is free of charge. I suspect the site is more interesting when the house itself is open and I'd love to visit again when this is the case.
Greenway House, Kingswear, Brixham TQ5 0ES. See https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/greenway for further details.