Hinton St Mary – Gardens Open!

Date:

It’s an overlooked village which everyone drives through to get to Stur – but Hinton St Mary has olde worlde Dorset charm by the bucket

Photo of the village regulars supporting Gardens Open 24.

Nestled amid the lush greenery of Dorset’s rolling countryside lies the tiny village of Hinton St Mary – a hidden gem just a stone’s throw away from the charming town of Sturminster Newton. With its picturesque landscape, historic manor house, Tithe Barn, interesting 17th and 18th century thatched houses and tranquil surroundings, Hinton St Mary offers a quiet retreat for those seeking a peaceful escape from the hustle of modern life.
At the heart of the village stands St Peter’s Church, rebuilt in 1846 but retaining its 15th century tower and 12th century font. Built of locally-quarried stone, the church’s sturdy walls and tower dominate the skyline, drawing visitors and residents alike towards it.

Photo of Prince, a Fowler BB1 Ploughing Engine Built in 1918.

Wandering through the narrow lanes that criss-cross the village, it’s hard to avoid feeling as though you have slipped back to a bygone era of rustic charm. Properties exude Dorset character, from timber-framed facades adorned with climbing roses to the beautiful gardens overflowing with blooms. The village’s Millenium Garden was created by a community collaboration in 1999, and its construction was filmed by BBC2 for Charlie Dimmock’s show ‘Charlie’s Garden Army’.
As the sun dips below the horizon, casting a golden glow over the surrounding hills, the village comes alive with warmth and camaraderie. Villagers gather at the pub, The White Horse, to share stories and laugh over a pint, a wine or the pub’s outstanding food made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Visitors are of course welcomed with open arms!
For history enthusiasts, Hinton St Mary boasts a wealth of heritage. In 1963 the remains of what was thought to be a fourth century Roman villa were discovered here, complete with a mosaic pavement of over 90m2 with a centre roundel thought to depict the head of Christ. (you can read more about the Hinton mosaic in the late Roger Guttridge’s article in the July 2022 issue of the BV here). The mosaic is now held at the British Museum in London – recent excavations have shown that the Roman area was much larger than originally thought, and may have been an early Christian settlement rather than a single villa.

Annual open village
This year’s Gardens Open event is anticipated to be the best yet. Including the manor house gardens, there will be more than 20 individual gardens open to visitors, plus a classic car show situated close to the manor gardens, and a working vintage steam traction engine near to The White Horse Inn at the centre of the village.
There will of course be an abundance of delicious homemade cakes, with hot and cold refreshments in the Tithe Barn, and a generous plant stall.
A weekend ticket costs £6 per person (under 12’s are free), with complimentary parking next to the cricket ground – accessed through the main Manor House gates.

Gardens Open Event:
15th and 16th June
£6 per adult, under 12s free
Hinton St Mary, DT10 1NA
Tickets will be available at the Manor House gates each day.
Disabled parking available close to the Manor Gardens entrance.
Please no dogs

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