We've recently re-joined the National Trust. We let our membership lapse a few years ago when we were having to live on a strict budget. Things are a little easier now so we decided it was time to branch out again. Our first visit was to our nearest National Trust property at Biddulph just north of the city.
Biddulph Grange is a Victorian garden created by James Bateman whose interest in science, botany and theology led him to collect plants and fossils from all over the world and this is reflected in the design of the garden. It was laid out between the years of 1841 and 1868 in a series of small gardens with a geographical theme.
You can wander though dark underground tunnels. This one brings you out onto the glen a beautiful walk amongst tall trees like redwoods and monkey puzzles.
At the top of this walk is the Shelter house through which you can pass into the Egyptian Garden.
and from the upstairs you can look down onto the dahlia walk which is a riot of colour in high summer. Just beyond the hedge is the mosaic parterre and Mrs Bateman's garden.
There is a wonderful, twisting path through upturned tree roots which brings you out onto the recently restored 'great wall of China'
This part of the garden is very popular with visitors as it twists and turns and keeps you guessing where it will go next.
Take this route along the wall and you will enter the Chinese themed garden, with its temple overlooking a tranquil pool full of huge goldfish.
The colourful bridge leads through to a small garden and round to the temple.
Below is the bust of a sacred water buffalo
The large urn stands at the top of the Wellingtonia Avenue
below is part of the Italian style garden
The house itself isn't open to the public and has been turned into luxury living accommodation.
Above is the newly opened James Bateman geological gallery. It is currently being restored so not yet finished but it was fascinating to see how he had tried to piece together the aspects of geological time and fossil remains with his understanding of the biblical days of creation.
Also new since our last visit were a woodland walk with tactile activities for children and a kitchen garden complete with raised beds, composting area, scarecrow and beehive. There is a shop and cafe and picnicing is allowed outside the garden. A great start to our year of National Trust visits!