We headed out on the open road (well, the M6) yesterday. Stoke may not seem to be an obvious tourist spot and, no, we were not heading to the Wedgewood visitor centre. In fact it was a healing event involving both of us and some less than pleasant memories which I hoped the autumn air might sweep away.
If you’ve never been let me recommend a full day out at Trentham Gardens.
There’s shopping and a playground, a historic ruin, lake, woodland and a garden. We wanted food and a good walk. We found both. David’s bistro is nothing fancy but the food is good. it sits within a mock Alpine village where shops sell you things you don’t need at prices you may grumble about. That said, we found a sugar thermometer which has been the source of a strategic visiting schedule of local cookery shops.
Of course we then had to walk off our lunch. (Mine the salad her’s the steak sandwich.) Trentham does an annual visitors pass to the garden with reductions for students OAP’s etc. we went for the day pass.
Over the bridge and the first sight is a series of swan sculptures in wicker or some thing like rising from the lake.
Onwards to the Trellised walk and to the Italian gardens. We spent some time on the viewing platform by the ruins of the old hall. there’s a marquee but not for a wedding or party. It seems to be some kind of base for restoration operations. I’ve been coming to this place for a number of years now and slowly it is taking a magnificent shape.
Said to be the longest trellised walk in the world this one has been restored and hides a statue of a female snake wrangler!
The hall itself must’ve been quite something in it’s day. We never found out why the family decided to destroy it. No doubt local historians know more. We didn’t buy the guide book
Even in autumn the Italian garden was quietly filled with couples sharing benches and silence. At the bottom of the long central walkway Perseus holds Medusa’s head aloft as he stands astride her dead body. Children hurry by to the playground.
We wandered on not daring to participate in the barefoot walk, too many children too much chill in the air. There were show gardens with an eco theme, a Girl Guide theme, a sound garden (which I badly want at home) and hidden under the trees a maze.
Being fans of the labyrinth, we’d walked one before at Calgary in Mull, we had to enter. this is a hedge maze. it’s still quite young and the walls could be thicker but it has a spiral hill fort at it’s centre and sound pipes sprout so those to the top can guide others through….or just make growling noises to scare them which seemed to be the trick of the day.
The floral labyrinth and rivers of grass lead to one more glimpse of the ruined hall as we left at dusk. In the next few days there will be fireworks. there’s an ice rink waiting for winter too but the quiet of the garden and amiable company were enough.