I don't often visit gardens, Daniel and Eleanor were never keen to traipse around looking at flowers so it's something we've rarely done. Now that Mick and I have time to do things on our own, I've decided that I'm going to try and visit a garden each month this year.
Whilst looking on the internet for somewhere to visit in January, I came across Wentworth Garden Centre. It's set in sixteen acres of walled and landscaped gardens, built in the 18th century by the Fitzwilliams of Wentworth Woodhouse.
The gardens are now being restored by the garden centre, and after our visit there yesterday, I have to say that they're doing a fantastic job.
We haven't had many frosts this year, but I would say that yesterday was our frostiest day of the year. It hung around all day.
The garden centre charge £1.50 per adult admission to the historic gardens and as you walk through the gate, the first thing to greet you is the maze. The replanting of the maze is one of the recent projects to be completed after it was grubbed out shortly after the Second World War.
We weren't very successful in getting round the maze, we ended up exiting the same way we went in. I should think that this would be a firm favourite with children.
The creation of a deer paddock is another project which has recently been undertaken. I should imagine that children would enjoy this area of the garden too.
As we walked further round, we came to a place where you could stand right next to the fence and one or two of the deer were very inquisitive and came to see us. One even waited for her nose to be stroked.
Some of the walls in the garden are hot walls and once contained heated flues. Fruit such as pineapples, peaches and apricots were grown in glasshouses which were erected next to these heated walls.
There's different areas to the garden, all with a different feel to them.
I didn't know what this was until I read up on it. It's a bear pit and the chamber has contained bears within living memory.
There's stairs to climb inside the pit and then you exit in an elevated part of the garden.
I also had to look up what these openings were. Any Ideas?
Here's a closer look. They're actually duck houses which date back to the Victorian period. They housed ornamental varieties including Pintail, Widgeon, Teal and Black Swans.
There's a few odd looking statues dotted about the garden.
I like this one though, sheltering under a tree at the end of a rill.
Wildlife habitats and feeding stations were evident throughout the gardens. Log piles had been left and plenty of bird houses and seed and nut holders were scattered about. They're obviously paying off as there was beautiful birdsong to accompany us on our walk.
We saw three squirrels chasing each other along the ground until they climbed a tree, swirling and twirling as they went. I was too slow with my camera to catch them in the act.
It was a lovely place for a visit and we'll definitely return later in the year to see the gardens again in a different season. I can tell that spring will bring plenty of colour, there were already lots of bulbs beginning to show themselves.
After visiting the gardens, we headed for the garden centre. There's plenty to see here too and it was very busy. In the grounds are a restaurant, a deli, an ice cream parlour and a farm shop. There's craft units in the courtyard and even an adventure playground, among other things.
There was a farmer's market in the car park. It's there on the second Sunday of the month and has stalls which include local venison, ostrich, kangaroo, honey, preserves, artisan cheeses and organic vegetables.
After we'd visited the historic gardens and garden centre, we made our way in to Wentworth village. You can read about that on my Through The Keyhole blog.
All in all, a lovely, but chilly, day out.
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