The ‘Near’ and ‘Far’ Lawns at Glen Goyle

The Bassett/Cohen family have deep connections with Glen Goyle:

A recent tour of Asherton Gardens – Friends of Glen Goyle

A fortnight ago David Bassett and Joe Cohen (both grandchildren of Asherton House resident Dr Bertram Cohen aka Bertie) were both visiting Sidmouth with family from far-flung corners of the globe.

They were able to sit overlooking what used to be the ‘Near Lawn’ of Asherton House – now part of the private gardens of today’s 1960s terraced housing.

The ‘Far Lawn’ of the then-Asherton House now makes up the area of ‘meadow’ or lawn (when cut!) which is the centre-piece of the northern part of today’s public Glen Goyle park.

Interestingly, the ‘lawns’ will have been laid out much earlier – with Asherton House dating from the early nineteenth century:


Here’s an excerpt from a piece by VGS member Mary Walden-Till on Victorian gardens:

Green lawns were an essential element of Victorian garden style, used to frame a lovely home and for socializing or lawn games. Lawns in Victorian England were trimmed with a scythe, so they lacked the perfectly manicured appearance of many lawns today. Trees and shrubs: Victorian garden style often implemented shrubs and trees, both evergreen and deciduous, as specimen plants. However, they were also planted along property lines or in mixed hedges.

Elements of a Victorian Garden – Friends of Glen Goyle

By the middle of the twentieth century, Asherton House was very well settled into its surroundings. Here’s a photograph taken by ‘Uncle Arthur’ (Gainsford) looking over the brook towards the ‘Far Lawn’ from the House. The Japanese Maple stands as a grand specimen in today’s Glen Goyle.

Asherton House and Asherton Gardens – Friends of Glen Goyle

By the time we come to the spring of 2023, there is a very different look to the same area. Here’s some nocturnal life happening at the ‘Far Lawn’:

Foxes at midnight along the Glen – Friends of Glen Goyle

And here’s report from the working party from the autumn of 2022. It’s all about the light:

We worked around the lawn area, again clearing brambles and ivy, which was choking so much of Glen Goyle… We were joined by robins, blackbirds, and a mistle thrush . Passers-by chatted with us. One person has told me that she feels so much more happy walking along the path, now that it is less overgrown and dark.

With the accompanying photograph by FOGG volunteer John McGregor showing the Japanese Maple today on the edge of the ‘Far Lawn’:

Letting the sunshine into the Glen – Friends of Glen Goyle