Out and About Again

The second of our brief forays in the campervan took us into Shropshire, the adjacent county. Unfortunately, the timing of the overnight stop we were able to squeeze in this week precluded visits to two very worthwhile Shropshire gardens, although admittedly I had already visited Wollerton Old Hall three times already. This gave us time, however, to revisit Hawkestone Park Follies,  a range of dramatic and rugged natural sandstone hills that were developed to include gullies, caves, towers and bridges, becoming one of the most visited landscapes in Britain during the 19th Century. I visited in the 1990s with my Girls and in 2007 with the Golfer but the place is just as magical as ever and unlike anything I have ever visited before, and the following photos  really are just snapshots of a very unique place:

It was an energetic slog around the park, so we were more than ready for a gentler amble around the gardens surrounding a Georgian country house, Goldstone Hall Hotel. The five acre garden was deceptive in size, and although unfortunately not at its best there was still an air of ‘shabby chicness’ about it, notably in the varied borders, a herb walk and a productive fruit and vegetable garden. Talking to the head gardener, we learned that his team had gone from four to just himself over the Covid period, inevitably making maintenance of a garden this size an uphill struggle

Following our overnight stop near the Shropshire Union Canal we visited the 12 acre hillside Dorothy Clive Garden, set up by Colonel Harry Clive as a place of rest and continued horticultural education for the general public. The garden was originally created by Colonel Clive in 1940 to provide his ailing wife Dorothy with a ‘series of interesting walks’ as she battled with Parkinson’s disease. Unfortunately, Dorothy died in 1942 but Colonel Clive continued work on the garden throughout the 1940s and 1950s, and in 1958 management of the garden was then entrusted to a newly established, small-scale, independent charity.

Like Goldstone, the garden was not at its best, with summer borders waning and seasonal winter and spring interest absent, but it still succeeded in providing a ‘series of interesting walks’, and its educational work with schools, homeschooled children, and adults is commendable. Teeming with volunteers, the garden is clearly valued in the local area and is a popular venue on the Plant Hunters’ Fair circuit.

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12 Responses to Out and About Again

  1. Thank you for sharing this gorgeous post! 💞

  2. Heyjude says:

    Although I lived in Shropshire for 7 years I never got to any of these gardens. Old Wollerton Hall was very much on the list as was the Dorothy Clive garden. The follies wasn’t due to the OH’s vertigo and I must say it looks quite challenging to get around! 5 acres to look after on your own is a BIG task! I can only just about cope with my own teeny plot!

    • Cathy says:

      Do keep Wollerton Old Hall on your list – one of my favourite gardens. There are different routes around the Follies, some more strenuous than others, but people certainly need an idea of what to expect before they start!

  3. Anna says:

    Oh I know that there was a good reason for why I have never walked round Hawkstone Park Cathy and your photos reminded me why 😂 I hate heights! I think that himself may have visited once upon a time. A shame that perhaps the gardens at Goldstone and Dorothy Clive had gone past their peak. Dorothy Clive is fabulous in the spring. Maybe you need to twist The Golfer’s arm so that you can make a return visit next year?

  4. bcparkison says:

    Oh…This would be a fun trip. thanks for sharing your photos.

  5. How fun! The gardens look beautiful, and the first destination looks very much like some of the landscapes near my home, here in S. Wisconsin USA; near Devil’s Lake, Gibraltar Rock, and many others. Gorgeous.

  6. Cathy says:

    I love the look of that park, with such beautfiul views too. And those late summer gardens have a sort of peaceful charm to them. Thanks for sharing!

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