For a county known for its work ethic, with signs of industry in the shape of mills, factories and transportation, there is a surprising wealth of green space in between.
View of the south elevation of Tatton Park, Cheshire. ©National Trust Images/Mark Fiennes
A selection of glorious gardens and plant life can be found within the grounds of many Cheshire attractions, including Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre (home to two national collections, wildlife ponds and beehives) and Chester Zoo (with rare plant collections dotted in between the animal enclosures, and a public ‘Gardener for a Day’ scheme, allowing visitors to assist the team in their daily tasks).
Ness Botanic Gardens, Cheshire
Other plots are connected to stately homes: Adlington Hall, Arley Hall, Cholmondeley Castle Gardens, Lyme Park, Norton Priory Museum, Quarry Bank, Rode Hall and Tatton Park, all have wonderful grounds to explore. From Rococo gardens complete with carpets of bluebells and an abundance of wildlife to woodland walks and perfect family picnic spots, there’s no shortage of gardening inspiration to be found across Cheshire.
There’s also a wonderful range of small gardens across the county, including Stonyford Cottage Gardens, Bluebell Cottage Gardens, the Dorothy Clive Garden, Fryer’s Roses and Weeping Ash Garden, each with their own individual appeal, but Ness Botanic Garden is the Cheshire’s only botanical garden, which was born of Liverpool cotton merchant Arthur Kilpin Bulley in 1898. Keen to introduce exotic plant species to the nation, Bulley selected plants from the Far East, which he thought could survive in Britain’s climate. He sponsored renowned plant hunters George Forrest and Frank Kingdon on missions to collect rhododendron griersonianum and camelia saluenensis and propagated many young plants, including Gentiana sino-ornata, still found flourishing at Ness. Now in the care of the University of Liverpool, the gardens are as much a centre of research, conservation and education as they are visitor attraction. Follow the tree trail, sit on a bench and take in the spectacle or catch the beauty of the season, its birds or butterflies, along the fragrant Azalea Walk.