Devon • gardens • literature
Opinion remains divided on Agatha Christie. Leading light of the detective story or writer of potboilers, wooden characters moving around creaking plots? Love her or hate her, the fact remains that she is the third best selling author of all time. That’s a lot of fans out there.
Much of the inspiration for Agatha’s books came from her native county of Devon. Her home at Greenway was no exception – many of her works, including Towards Zero, Dead Man’s Folly and Five Little Pigs took their inspiration from the house and gardens. So, as someone who has always been a closet admirer of Agatha Christie, I was keen to go and have a look for myself.
This was Agatha’s holiday home, where she spent much of her time with her family. But she was an inveterate collector, and the house is filled with her collections of china, silver and furniture. And the books. Not just her own books – although there is an enviable display of first editions of her own work – but everything else you could imagine. Running your eyes along the shelves is like being given a tour of the author’s mind. A highlight for me was listening to a recording of Agatha herself talking about the process of writing.
Looking down to Greenway House
The Gardens of Greenway
Even for those with no interest in the author, the gardens are worth a visit. Set in extensive landscaped parkland on a steeply sloping hill high above the River Dart, the well stocked gardens are a pleasure for plant lovers, walkers and anyone who wants to find a hidden corner to picnic or while away some time in. Enjoy the sweeping views over the river, the walk up to the viewpoint or the walled gardens. It is easy to see why anyone living in these surroundings might be inspired to write!
A view across the River Dart
Walking out of the walled garden
There are extensive views of the gardens and surrounding countryside
Greenway is now owned by the National Trust
. If you are travelling by car you need to phone in advance to book your car parking space (this should be no problem if you are not visiting in peak holiday period). Various public transport options are available, or you can take a taxi from Paignton station.