Open day at Waterston Manor with a ‘Ming Vase’ treasure hunt


- Credit: Archant

After a 2 year break the gardens at Waterston Manor will once again be opened to the public.

Not only can visitors enjoy the spectacular gardens, they can also participate in a treasure hunt for a piece of Chinese porcelain. There will be a large fair with craft and food stalls, live music, a fun dog show and a specialist plant sale. Proceeds from the day will go to Dorset CPRE, the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Katharine Butler, the owner at Waterston Manor has hidden the vase in her garden as a tribute to her father, Sir Michael Butler who amassed the world’s finest collection of 17th century Chinese porcelain and died 2 years ago. She said: “My father would have been amused by the idea and he believed firmly in the ideals of the CPRE.”

The vase is a 12cm Ming style vase previously in the collection of the Duke of Wellington and bought by Katharine in 2015. It will be placed somewhere in the 5 acres of gardens and finders will be keepers.

The privately owned gardens and house, which are not usually open to the public, were the inspiration for Weatherbury Farm in Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd. And during the day there will be a talk by Dr Tony Fincham on Exploring Thomas Hardy’s Wessex, based upon his new book of the same title from the Wimborne-based Dovecote Press.

Acclaimed author and journalist, Anna Pavord, will also be giving a talk celebrating our British landscape inspired by the tercentenary anniversary of Capability Brown’s death. Her talk, Landscape, A Celebration will be free to all visitors.

It will be a fun day for all the family. There will be many stalls selling specialist plants such as David Austin Roses, rare perennials and Plants for Pollinators, a wide variety of food and craft stalls as well as live music from bands such as Howling at the Moon, The Darwins and Harpin’ On. There will be a raffle, a fun dog show and cream teas.

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The gardens will be open on 10 July between 10am and 4pm and are at Waterston Manor, Lower Waterston, near Puddletown DT2 7SP. Entry £5 adults, £1 for children or family ticket £10 (free parking).

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) work to protect, promote and enhance our towns and countryside to make them better places to live, work and enjoy, and to ensure the countryside is protected for now and future generations

For further information, please contact Katharine Butler on 07963 909108 or or Linda Williams, Dorset CPRE on 0333 577 0360 email:

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