Country Life’s best Instagram posts of 2019: Gorgeous interiors, stately homes and the lamb that broke the internet

One of Country Life's crowning jewels is our carefully-curated Instagram feed, displaying the Best of Britain twice a day, every day. We've rounded up our top ten posts of the year, a marvellous mixture of adorable animals and verdant views.

Marvin the lamb, The Lost Gardens of Heligan

We begin our round up of Country Life’s top Instagrams of 2019 just as we should, with the most beloved of all creatures, Marvin the lamb. Marvin basically broke the internet with his whimsical smile and teddy-bear face, receiving the most likes we’ve ever seen and propelling himself firmly into our hearts forever.

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Asthall Manor, Oxfordshire

Our next highest number of likes fell to Asthall Manor in September. Beautifully framed by buttery stone gates, the gabled Jacobean Cotswold manor house was home to the extremely talented Mitford sisters.

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The home of Birdie Fortescue, Norfolk

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‘I learnt the basics of buying antiques, the most important of which is that you should never go with a specific shopping list,’ explains interior designer Birdie Fortescue. ‘A piece of furniture has to speak to you first; you can always find a home for it later.’The most interesting interiors, she believes, boast an eclectic mix of pieces that have character, authenticity and natural patina, but, crucially, juxtapose style and periods. ‘It’s the art of placing a contemporary sculpture on a 17th-century chest.’ Birdie her excellent taste and vast skillset when she turned her Norfolk beach house into the family's primary home. · · · 📷by Simon Brown @simonbrownphotography @birdiefortescue #livingrooms #interiordesign #countrylifeinteriors #countrylife #interiors

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Interior designer Birdie Fortescue turned her family beach house into their main home. Our inbox was instantly bombarded with people asking who had supplied the stair runners and beautiful flagstone flooring.

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Reddish House, Wiltshire

The ‘dream house’ and gardens of Cecil Beaton attracted admirers from all over the world in July, even converting one person who previously (unimaginably) hated period properties to our cause.

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A sleeping dormouse, Yorkshire Dales

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‘Finding a snoring dormouse inside a nesting box is an amazing feeling – they’re such gentle and charismatic creatures,’ said George Holmes, lead ranger at the National Trust. The National Trust is calling on the public to help boost numbers of hazel dormice, since populations in the UK have fallen by around a third since 2000. Habitat loss is believed to be the main reason for the decline and nature lovers can protect the species through a number of measures, including allowing bramble to grow, leaving ivy on trees and piling up logs. If you are lucky enough to see a dormouse, please do report it to the People’s Trust for Endangered Species on their website. · · · 📷by Wild Dales Photography – Simon Phillpotts / Alamy @ptes_org @nationaltrust #dormouse #yorkshiredales #countrylife #countryside #animals #mice #nationaltrust #ptes

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This little guy unsurprisingly garnered much love in November as he raised awareness for the dwindling dormouse population, suffering from loss of habitat. If you do see a dormouse, please report it on the PTES website.

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A sleeping hedgehog, Suffolk

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Rise in late-born baby hedgehogs means many may struggle to survive winter. Warmer weather this year has led to growing numbers of hoglets being born later in the year and being too small to cope with the coming cold. 'If you see any out during daylight hours they need help,’ says Taz Clarke, a volunteer at Suffolk Hedgehog Hospital. ‘Any hedgehogs under 650g are not big enough to hibernate.' Charities like the Suffolk Hedgehog Hospital need help and donations; everything from kitten and puppy food to hot water bottles. You can also help by making a few changes to your garden; leaving out a little dog or cat food to help them gain weight before winter and ensuring there are small holes in your fences (if your pets allow for it) to aid them in moving freely between green spaces. You could even install a hedgehog house if you wanted a winter lodger. You can find more tips for helping hedgehogs on our website. · · · 📷 by Alamy @suffolkhedgehoghospital #hedgehog #helpthehedgehog #suffolkhedgehoghospital #gardenchanges #nature #helpnature #CountryLifeNews

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Another slumbering angel, this little guy taught our followers that baby hedgehogs are called hoglets. Longer summers have increased births later in the season, meaning that many hoglets are still too small to survive the winter cold. You can help by installing a hedgehog house or (if you don’t have animals that would eat it themselves) leaving a little kitten or puppy food out for them if you know there are some in your area.

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Findon Place, West Sussex

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Findon Place, near Arundel, has sat at the foot of the South Downs since the early medieval period. Mentioned in the Domesday Book, the estate was given to William de Braose after the Norman Conquest. Today, the Grade II*-listed house owes much to an 18th-century remodelling, which gave it its façade and the fine interiors typical of the Georgian era. Luckily for anyone bowled over by Findon's wonders (which include a swimming pool, tennis court and equestrian facilities) the 52-acre estate is for sale for £5.5m through @knightfrank. For more stunning country property, visit @countrylifeproperty. #countrylifeproperty #countrylifeestate #medievalproperty #arundel #propertyinstagram #propertyinspiration

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This year saw the birth of another Country Life Instagram account, Country Life Property. We recently celebrated the account passing 10K, and this wonderful picture shows just how we managed to pass the milestone so quickly!

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Slad Valley, Gloucestershire

Beautiful country views are our bread and butter. The charming setting of Cider with Rosie shines in this post from September, reminding us that those little idyllic pockets of England are still there for those who care to find them.

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The gardener’s bothy at Gunton Hall, Suffolk

We’re entirely unsurprised that this little beauty shot to the top of the leaderboard – after all, there is something uniquely fascinating about minature homes. This is certainly the case with Vine House, transformed from an awkwardly-shaped collection of rooms into a lovely, flowing home.

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Badminton Horse Trials (1973), Gloucestershire

Finally, a lovely family portrait marking the 70th anniversary of Badminton reached our top ten by merit of the family pictured. One follower remarked Lord Snowdon’s resemblance to British movie star Benedict Cumberbatch, while others were left longing for tweed outfits and woolly tights.

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