Coffee Time!

If you want to find out about the Friends, we meet every 3rd Tuesday in the month at the Gardener’s Cottage Café from 11.00 a.m.

Changes have been put in place following lifting of strict lockdown. Outdoor seating has been put out again, spaced out to permit us to socially distance. There is no indoor seating available at the moment. The tables cater for groups of four. As we are from different households, we might meet up in groups of no more than three.

You may wish to bring your own hand sanitiser and will now need a face covering to go inside to order. There is now a cordoned-off one way queuing system and only one person allowed into the cafe at any one time.

The bill of fare


Apart from that, it is the usual lovely atmosphere and experience, with the park and gardens looking as beautiful as ever. A good range of food and drinks is available (see above) and we look forward to seeing you if you would like to come along any time between 11.00 and midday on the 3rd Tuesday of each month.

The kitchen garden outside the café
Lockdown reading through our archive, revealed this picture of the cottage as it was in 1981.

Baby Boom!

Hello to all our readers during this period of confinement. We hope you will enjoy another contribution focussing on the outdoors rather than the house itself, which of course at the moment remains closed to the public, though we can see some work is going on inside such as painting and renovation.

Baby coots on the Long Water. There were four chicks initially but lately only two have been spotted.

If you have been walking in the park, you will probably also have spotted the goslings and cygnets which all seem to be growing and shedding their down with amazing speed! if you live too far away to visit at the moment, please visit us on Twitter @FOVM4 or on Facebook where we have uploaded pictures of the estate, which really is looking wonderful at the moment. Simon Litt and his Park team continue to work their magic.

Greylag goslings

Greylag geese are our commonest native geese. In the park the goslings from several families have grouped together. This is known as a crèche.

A few weeks later, growing rapidly!

A few weeks after the goslings were spotted, four cygnets hatched and can be seen most days either on or near the Long Water or the Ornamental Pond, though the geese do like to wander far and wide! We understand there may well be more cygnets to hatch in the coming days.

Wild white stork chicks hatch!

Before you get too excited at this headline, the recent news of the reintroduction into this country and successful hatching of wild white stork chicks is sadly not here on the Valentines estate, but on the Knepp estate in Sussex.

Follow the link to see some amazing photos of the storks on the Knepp Estate!

However you may not realise there is a connection between Valentines Mansion and the Knepp Castle Estate!!

Sir Charles Raymond Burrell

The Knepp Estate is owned by Sir Charles Raymond Burrell, 10th Baronet. Sir Charles lives with his family at Knepp Castle, West Sussex, a castellated mansion built for the Burrells around 1808 by John Nash. He has managed the 3,500-acre Knepp estate since he was 21, and is now known for the rewilding project that he has undertaken there.

Knepp came into the Burrell family when William Burrell, a lawyer and Sussex historian, married Sophia Raymond, daughter of our very own Sir Charles Raymond of Valentines.

Sir Charles Raymond, 1st Baronet.

Our Sir Charles (1st Baronet) gave the estate, then 1,600 acres, to his daughter in 1787, shortly before he died and the Raymond baronetcy passed to his son-in-law, William Burrell.

You can read more about Sir Charles Raymond’s ownership of Valentines here.

Discover the stories behind things you may stumble across as you walk in the park!