Copyright Le Bois de Moutiers
Le Bois des Moutiers
Situated on top of the cliffs near Dieppe, Le Bois des Moutiers is a 24 acre landscaped park and botanical garden and was entirely planted around 1900 by Guillaume Mallet in a valley sloping down to the sea. It is Italian by planting, Mediterranean by type of countryside and pre-Raphaelian in style; due to the design of the house and garden. You can wander through woodland glades whose themes, colours and odours differ enormously, in one of the most beautiful landscapes in this region.
In 1898, at the time when Dieppe Spa welcomed French and foreign artists and writers, the banker Guilliaume Mallet asked the young English architect Edwin Lutyens to enlarge his house and to design the surrounding gardens. The gardens and park were designed in consultation with Gertrude Jekyll, known for her botanical and landscape painting talents. The garden was inspired by the Arts & Craft Movement and the ideas of its founder William Morris (1834-1896). Lutyens became famous later by building notably the Viceroy’s Palace at New Delhi in India.
At the south side, beside the entrance, a succession of enclosed gardens of formal design, with box edging, fit closely with the design of the house. To the north opens a vale-like landscape towards the sea. A turfed terrace joins with the park on the lower level. If the gardens are on the scale of the buildings, the park is on the scale of the countryside and visually extends the opening as far as the sea which is visible above the foliage.
In the park the scenes link and their composition provides an interest in every season. At springtime the azaleas and rhododendrons are in flower, the tallest reaching a height of almost ten metres.
The acid soil, which is exceptional in the ‘Pays de Caux’, allowed the introduction of rare plants such as Himalayan rhododendrons, Chinese azaleas, eucryphias from Chile, Japanese maples, in complete contrast with the local vegetation. All these plants have now reached maturity and are most impressive, attaining often more than 30 feet in height. The visitor can walk through a succession of clearings. In each of these there is a dominant species.
Guillaume Mallet’s family, who live here permanently, try to perpetuate the spirit of this genius.