Despite it being only a few miles from home, it is over twenty years since I last visited Biddulph Grange. The last time was in the 1990s after it re-opened after restoration by the National Trust although many of the current features had not been created then. The house began as a rectory and was purchased by James Bateman around 1840. Along with his friend Edward Cooke, he began plant collecting and creating the garden. Bateman eventually moved on and in 1896 the house burnt down and so had to be re-built. It functioned as a children’s and then an orthopaedic hospital from 1923 until the 1980s. The gardens became very neglected until the National Trust took it over. The current building is a curious mix of brick and stone. Much of it consists of private apartments with a small portion containing the cafe and shop run by the National Trust.
The garden is divided into several different areas and it would take some time to explore them all. We looked at the Chinese Garden:
and wandered past the section devoted to Egypt and around various small paths and tunnels. I remembered the Stumpery from my last visit. This was constructed in 1856 and is said to be the first in the country. Parts of dead trees and other wood are used to grow plants on and around, a little like rocks in a rockery.
The Wellingtonia Avenue heads away from the house towards a gate which is opened once a year into the Country Park.
You can return via the Woodland Walk. It has several adventure playground items made from wood for children to enjoy.
Near the house there are several terraces and parterres and a dahlia walk. The geological gallery was the old Victorian entrance and houses a display of fossils and rocks collected by Batemen.
Most are reproduction with only one original. This grass planted in an urn on one of the terraces was very reminiscent of Donald Trump’s hair.
As the current hot dry weather continues we retreated to the cafe for a cold drink and some local ice-cream to cool off. Ducks were hovering in the pond outside hoping for some scraps.
There is an extremely well-stocked garden shop with a good range of plants, herbs and trees as well as tools, accessories and decorative items. When the rains return I might return here and select a few more plants for the garden as well as explore some of the areas we did not see on this visit.