Gone but not quite for­got­ten

Country Life Every Week - - Letters To The Editor -

WHILE the Na­tional Trust pon­ders the fu­ture of Clan­don Park and the pos­si­bil­ity of re­build­ing it fol­low­ing the ex­am­ple of Up­park, an­other de­stroyed Trust house has been largely for­got­ten. On Novem­ber 17, al­most ex­actly 50 years ago, Dun­sland House (above) in re­mote north-west Devon was gut­ted by flames. Dec­o­ra­tive plas­ter­work, ‘as good as any work any­where in Bri­tain’, wrote Pevs­ner, and join­ery carved by a pupil of Grin­ling Gibbons were de­stroyed. The cause of the fire was un­known and the Trust’s so­lu­tion to the dis­as­ter un­com­pro­mis­ing. The sur­viv­ing struc­ture was bull­dozed into the cel­lars and, apart from a slate plaque on the site, Dun­sland was for­got­ten. It isn’t even men­tioned in the Trust’s hand­book and vis­i­tors are rare. How­ever, a walk through the 92 acres of its sur­viv­ing park­land is a poignant ex­pe­ri­ence, es­pe­cially in the spring when a few strag­gling rhodo­den­drons and a pink mag­no­lia still flour­ish in the en­croach­ing wood­land. Hugh Meller, Devon

The writer of the let­ter of the week will win a bot­tle of Pol Roger Brut Réserve Cham­pagne

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