NO trains, but three lovely heritage gardens, and the glorious Peak District.
This Gallery, captured in rather wet conditions, features a heritage garden in Wales, one in Staffordshire, and one in Derbyshire, in the heart of the Peak District National Park.
Despite the unfortunate weather, we decided to continue as planned, and so our first stop was at Bodnant Garden in the Conwy Valley, North Wales. It was easy to see why this garden has been kept in pristine condition by the National Trust.
After crossing into England, we headed south down the M6 and then east to reach Biddulph Grange gardens, another National Trust property. The lake, the house and its beautifully laid out garden are well worth a visit. The Stumpery, built from stumps of dead trees, was quite amazing! Despite the overcast and often drizzly rain we managed a few good shots as we wandered this delightful garden.
We stayed with friends in the ‘village’ of Chapel-en-le-Frith , now more a small town and often dubbed the “Capital of the Peak”. We then spent the next three days exploring the Peak District, and visited Chatsworth House & Gardens and the village of Eyam.
I did not enjoy the walk through Chatsworth House, many rooms were very dark and contained rather ‘dark’ and very large pictures as well as painted ceilings with rather grotesque portrayals of people, often virtually naked struggling between heaven and hell.
The gardens of Chatsworth, on the other hand, were a delight, even though they were very different to Bodnant and Biddulph. Chatsworth was much larger, in fact ‘expansive’ would be a better word, far more open with large areas of grass and a large lake, called a canal, Generally the gardens were a lot less formal.
Eyam village is famous for a very sad event that hit the village, in the 1600s. The bubonic plague killed 260 people after a bag of cloth was brought from London, where the same plague had killed thousands. The villagers took a brave, and potentially deadly, decision to quarantine themselves within the village, thus stopping the spread of the plague.
The Peak District is mainly a large ‘moor’ with expansive rolling hills covered in gorse and low bush. Many creeks and streams with cascading falls criss-cross the moor, as do narrow, winding roads. Unfortunately, the only day the sun came out with any enthusiasm was the day we were leaving to catch a train in Sheffield, after returning our hire car – and time did not allow photo stops along the way.
Next stop London and the last Gallery of this tour.
Till next time, Peter.