This year has been a stunning one for Country Life photography and we're lucky to have been able to share so many with you on our Instagram feed. From the queen and her gorgeous labradors to the rolling landscapes of this stunning country, we hope you enjoy the 20 best-loved posts of 2018.

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Forde Abbey, Chard, Somerset/Dorset border. ‘My personal preference is to compose a relaxed English country-style garden, with the emphasis on blues, pinks and white,’ says Mr Sparkes,the new head gardener at Forde Abbey. The stunning garden will go through a renaissance this winter, with many of the old, short-flowering plants being removed and replaced with blooms that will be able to withstand the cool Somerset winters ahead. The dahlias will remain, however. 'Older varieties such as David Howard and Cherry Wine have been grown at Forde Abbey for decades’ remarks says Charlotte Roper, who was born, brought up and is now retired here—and is still tending the same dahlias she always has. 📷 by Clive Nichols @clivenichols···#FordeAbbey #CountryHousesofInstagram #Somerset #Dorset

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Loughrigg Fell, the Lake District, England. In the foreground of this wonderful shot is a very distinctive wooden ladder stile, allowing walkers and hikers to cross the dry stone wall without damaging it. William Wordsworth once called the Lake District “the loveliest spot that man hath found” and although almost 170 years have passed since Wordsworth walked these paths, they remain as unchanged and enduring as his poetry; timelessly beautiful and just as enjoyable as they have always been. Wordsworth spoke out for the preservation of the area in which he spent most of his life, particularly when discussions of the Kendal and Windermere Railway began. He urged the abandonment of the ultimately successful project, saying “let then the beauty be undisfigured and the retirement unviolated”. John Ruskin shared Wordworth’s views and his influence in turn helped found the National Trust, which works to protect and preserve places like this for generations to come. The Lake District now makes up a quarter of the National Trust’s land in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. · · · 📷 by James Ennis / Getty Images #LakeDistrict #Wordsworth #NationalTrust

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Portrait of Lady Barbara Lowther on Horseback by Sir Alfred James Munnings. This stunning oil painting, dating back to the early 20th century, graces the cover of this week's issue of Country Life Magazine. Munnings is widely regarded as one of England’s finest painters of horses, and served as president of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1944. The daughter of Lancelot Edward Lowther 6th Earl of Lonsdale, Lady Barbara reportedly shocked society by running away from her husband, the war hero Lieutenant Colonel Archie Innes, and their young son in 1918. This portrait was commissioned by Lieutenant Innes four years before her departure, shortly after their lavish wedding. Credited to the Estate of Sir Alfred Munnings, Dedham, Essex. All rights reserved, DACS 2018/ Painters / Alamy Stock Photo. · · · #OilPainting #AlfredJamesMunnings

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The gardens at Highgrove, Doughton, Glouchestershire. The seasons at Highgrove are distinct and dramatic, not only climatically, but in the seasonal displays that The Prince of Wales has created. Each has The Prince’s signature, with an emphasis on chosen colours, colour combinations, scent and structure. The lines of the garden are clean and crisp, and the trees stand as statuesque silhouettes with the low light levels creating long shadows on bright autumn days. Summer is guided into autumn with abundant long-lasting displays of hydrangeas in all their multitude of forms and sizes, to take the garden through this lean time of flowering. Even as the hydrangea flowers wane, the change in their colour remains rich and endearing. · · · @clarencehouse #PrinceofWalesCountryLife #Highgrove Get six issues of Country Life for £6 – see bit.ly/CL-6-for-6 for details and terms.

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The Fish Gate at Kinross House, Kinross-shire. Looking out to Loch Leven and the ruined castle which adorns its central island, it's impossible to not appreciate the magnificent views of Kinross House, designed by Sir William Bruce as the first neo-Classical country house in Scotland. Owned by the Montgomerys in the 18th century, the gardens at Kinross were restored in the Edwardian style by Sir Basil Mongomery in 1902. The loch itself is similarly is drenched in it's own rich history – Mary, Queen of Scots was imprisoned in the Loch Leven Castle in 1567. Beautifully photographed by Val Corbett/Country Life Picture Library. · · · #KinrossHouse #LochLeven #GardensofInstagram

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