100 women and girls carry on ‘inspirational’ feminist legacy at A La Ronde

PUBLISHED: 17:00 07 August 2018

5th Withycombe Methodist Brownies, proudly showing the trail stop they made. Left to right, Evie Atkin, Indigo Burgess, Elizabeth Cannon, Amber Crocock and Robyn. Picture: Contributed

5th Withycombe Methodist Brownies, proudly showing the trail stop they made. Left to right, Evie Atkin, Indigo Burgess, Elizabeth Cannon, Amber Crocock and Robyn. Picture: Contributed


Nearly 100 inspirational women and girls have been volunteering at a National Trust property near lympstone to mark the centenary of women’s suffrage.

As part of the celebrations for 100 years since women won the right to vote, nearly 100 girl guides, brownies, rainbows and their leaders have been helping the team at A la Ronde.

Exmouth Division Girlguiding teamed up with the National Trust to set up the summer holiday family trail at A la Ronde; an event in which around 200 families explore the estate each year.

The girls all played their part to make sure the trail was set up correctly for the families to enjoy.

Inspired by artistic cousins Jane and Mary Parminter, who created A la Ronde, Girl Guides and Brownies decorated slates and pebbles to give answers to the trail and letters for an anagram they later solved.

Rainbows and other Brownie groups checked the trail and came up with solutions to make the trail work better for the summer holidays.

The partnership was initiated by Alison Hazel, who is a volunteer for both Girlguiding and A la Ronde.

She said: “as a member of Girlguiding, we are celebrating the Centenary of Votes for Women and at A la Ronde we are focussing on Women and Power.

“So it seemed like the perfect opportunity for the girls to come along and be helpful by laying out and testing the summer outdoor trail and being able to enjoy a tour of the house.”

The founders of A la Ronde challenged perceptions of women over a century before women’s suffrage, by not only going on a Grand Tour ,which was typically for men, but being the first women to climb Mont Buet in the Alps.

They commissioned a sixteen-sided house on a piece of land a distance away from the popular Regency resort of Exmouth and used the unusual shape to follow the sun to gain best natural light.

Mary Parminter wrote explicitly into her will that the house and estate was to be handed down to an unmarried female kinswoman – with only one break in this chain in over two hundred years.

This year, visitors are being introduced to some of the remarkable women whose efforts have meant the treasures of A la Ronde are still here to be explored today.

The family trail is on now until the end of the school holidays and costs £2 per child with a prize at the end. The normal admission price also applies. The exhibition about the inspirational women who have saved A la Ronde from development and cared for the unique property over the years is on until the end of October.

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