Chippenham Park, Cambridgeshire, has a distinctly naval theme governing the layout of its gardens and it certainly contains boat loads of water, nearly all laid out in the form of long straight canals.
The reason for this focus is that it was created by an Admiral: Admiral Russell who became the 1st Earl of Orford.
In fact, to immortalise his famous victory against the french at the battle of La Hogue (1692) he even commissioned a grand avenue of lime trees which were planted out in the battle formation. I imagine that he re-lived that battle over and over again as he showed people around his garden.
The gardens were originally created in a formal Anglo-Dutch style, but were later naturalised by designers such as William Eames and Samuel Lappidge.
However, much of the gardens seen today has been created and planted over the last 30 years. The house and park is still privately owned, but happily is open to the public 4 or 5 times a year. The spring displays are wonderful and well worth a visit.
Right now the park is open for its snowdrops and aconites (until 28th February), but in late March it will be open again for its daffodil and narcissus displays.
Although these are openings targeted at particular mass plantings, there is so much more to see than just that. There are beautiful long borders densely filled for all seasons. The wilderness area contains a variety of interesting shrubs and trees.
Just about any where you pause you will find a quirky bronze sculpture of some ‘wild’ creature close at hand.
But my favourite bit in the park is the walk along the main canal, called Adrian’s Walk. The long borders on either side are filled with specially selected snowdrop cultivars, sweetly scent sarcococca, viburnum and daphne, jewel-like irises and beautiful hellebore (the ones labelled were all Harvington series). I love this single buttery yellow.
At the end of the canal there is a small summer house which is a great place to rest and admire the view.
In the distance you can just make out the distinctive high arch bridge and since it is probably the most photographed feature in the park I’ll close this post with it.
It is well worth a visit if you are in the area on one of their open days in the spring.
Looks like a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. Certainly better than listening to the news on US politics, which I’m thoroughly sick of already.
You’ve got a long year ahead then! We just have to decide whether to opt in or out Europe by June (island nation dilemma). Chippenham was a very beautiful place to spend time though.
Thank you for this lovely tour. The sculptures are great-fun and quirky even though the garden itself is somewhat formal. Ditto what Marian said. 🙂
Part of the reason it has so many cosy corners and photo opportunities is that it is a licenced wedding venue, but it does make for an entertaining visit on the open days.
Looks like a beautiful park and a lovely spring day. I agree with you, the yellow hellebore are esp. nice. Was that a real cow? It almost looks like a statue!
Yes, we were so lucky with the timing and weather. The cow is a sculpture, but pretty realistic all things considered. It was funny coming round the bend to see it in the snowdrop glade.
I did wonder… a good likeness. 🙂
A great tour. I love going here on a sunny winter’ s day. Magical indeed.
Yes everything is so bright and sparkly there when the sun shines in Feb. The first time we went we had hot chocolate round a huge firepit that was lit to warm the visitors, but now they have a proper cafe!
Not a garden I know at all, thanks you for taking me with you!
You are very welcome
What an interesting place, I’d not heard of Chippenham Park before. Thank you for the delightful tour.
Glad to be able to share. The garden really has a great atmosphere at this time of year with all the reflected light from the water surfaces. Everything is so fresh and bright, including the snowdrops
I love the sculptures in this garden – especially the two frogs. Canals are always attractive, though I wonder if the Admiral ever thought of buying a home by the sea.
My thoughts exactly! The sculptures are an entertaining part of the garden. Funnily enough we were checking out where to get the frog ones and can only find them in the States (and they wont ship them here!)
Interesting garden and I simply love those yellow hellebores.
Yes, I’ve been looking out for them locally, but I might have to go online.