Exbury Gardens 12 1/4″ scale railroad and its Rhododendron Gardens in Hampshire, England

Most evenings I retreat to my office and read, work on blogs and try to figure out how the pyramids were built. When I am done I join wife Sarah in the sitting room and get dessert. Sarah sits and knits and watches the telly whilst I root around in my office. Sarah likes gardening and gardening shows. I hate gardening but labour in our garden on the basis that it is a shared job albeit I am the very junior partner.

Recently Sarah has been watching a five part BEEB (BBC) production about the 2019 RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) show at Kew. As I watched I was generally amusing myself trying to decode at least one of the latin names that these green fingered bods throw out like machine gun bullets. In the production there are visits to the genius gardeners showing how they do it. Raising 214 different type of Hostas seems a bit excessive to me but, different strokes for different folks. Right?

Any road, I came to attention when the proggy centered on Rhodies (Rhododendrons). The reason for my perking up was that Bob Bodie (one of the clubs earliest members – he was N scale) owned on of the largest Rhodie nurseries in Fort Bragg and current member Bruce Philp still operates a Rhodie nursery. Our modified weed patch has quite a few rhodies acquired from Bob when he was alive and Bruce.

The visit was to a place called Exbury Gardens which, whilst I am English, I had never heard of or been to. So here I am checking out Exbury Gardens and, more importantly, their steam train which, the BEEB insisted, was 12 1/4 inch gauge.

Exbury Gardens is a garden in Hampshire, England, belonging to a branch of the Rothschild family. It is situated in the village of Exbury, just to the east of Beaulieu across the river from Bucklers Hard. Exbury is a 200-acre informal woodland garden with very large collections of rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias, and is often considered the finest garden of its type in the United Kingdom.

Exbury is not too far from Brighton on the south coast where my folks live. Click on any image to see pics full size.

Brighton to Exbury Map

These pics show off thew gardens”

In the north east corner of the gardens there is also the 12 14 in (311 mm) gauge Exbury Steam Railway that goes on a journey through a tunnel, around Dragonfly Pond, through the Summer Lane Garden, along the top of the rock gardens and into the American Garden. The railway was built in 2000–2001 as an additional attraction in the gardens. Three narrow gauge style 0-6-2 tender tank locos were built specially for the line by the Exmoor Steam Railway. The railway has proved to be more popular than anyone had anticipated, with trains often needing to be double headed.  It is notable for having carried the Queen on a footplate trip round the railway.

If you are up to it here is a vid. There were quite a few available vids but I liked this one the best.

I’ve put it on my bucket list!!!!

And, I never did find out why 12 1/4″ (311mm) gauge.

One thought on “Exbury Gardens 12 1/4″ scale railroad and its Rhododendron Gardens in Hampshire, England

  1. I have been to Exbury Garden s twice and is well worth the effort. There is a beautiful spot to picnic at Lepe which is a couple of miles away where one can sit anywhere on the shore, looking over to the Isle of Wight and watching the shipping go by in the most peaceful of locations.

Comments are closed.