A Garden full of Canals

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 main (ice covered) canal/lake in Chippenham Park

The reason for this focus is that it was created by an Admiral: Admiral Russell who became the 1st Earl of Orford.


Canal beside the Long Border

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.


Canals in the Winter Walk area planted up with hamamelis, birch and cornus

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.


Snowdrops in the ‘Wilderness’. (You’d get extra white milk from this cow I am guessing!)

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.


Quirky sculptures are a strong component of the gardens

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.


A rather lovely witch-hazel on the Winter Walk

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.


Helleborus orientalis hybrid ‘Harvington Yellows’

At the end of the canal there is a small summer house which is a great place to rest and admire the view.


View from summer house down the north canal

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.


Bridge over main canal, Chippenham Park

It is well worth a visit if you are in the area on one of their open days in the spring.

Chippenham Park opening times


About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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17 Responses to A Garden full of Canals

  1. 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.

  2. Tina says:

    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. 🙂

  3. Eliza Waters says:

    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!

  4. Chloris says:

    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!

  5. Christina says:

    Not a garden I know at all, thanks you for taking me with you!

  6. 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

  7. 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!)

  8. Interesting garden and I simply love those yellow hellebores.

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