Primary school and pre-school children received a warm welcome from Bowood on Tuesday as it re-opened to visitors after the winter break.
The children, from Derry Hill Primary School and Pewsham Pre-school, enjoyed meeting two new Shetland ponies at the Tractor Ted Farm for the re-opening.
The ponies, who have just arrived from the Blue Cross in Burford, have no names at the moment so Bowood is looking for suggestions on its Facebook page.
The Bowood estate, opened to the public in 1975, covers 2,000 acres and boasts a golf course, children’s adventure playground and Rhododendron garden.
Highlights for this year include the For King and Country exhibition coinciding with the centenary of the First World War and a guest visit from War Horse author Michael Morpurgo on April 25.
Also planned is a fortnight of Easter holiday fun planned from Monday April 7, the big farm machinery weekends in May and August, and the Bowood dog show in June.
Lord Lansdowne said: “What a wonderful time of year this is, the advent of spring, followed by the seven month season.
“This year is particularly special as we have been selected by the Historic Houses Association’s friends for the garden of the year award, due to be presented by the association and Christie’s on May 14.
“Our 2014 season really is packed with so much to interest all ages, whether it is the miniature diggers, the new Shetland ponies at Tractor Ted’s Little Farm or the World War One exhibition in the Orangery, which will make many pause for reflection.
“In under a month’s time, my particular love, the Rhododendron Garden, will once again be open.
“It is going to be another fantastic season. I do hope we will have an opportunity of welcoming readers to Bowood this year.”
For more information visit www.bowood.org