A winter walk: at Trentham Gardens

One of the England’s most-visited garden attractions provides a spectacular show for winter: a perfect natural wonderland for a seasonal walk complete with fragrant woodland trails, and even frosty fairies.

Staffordshire’s restored Trentham Gardens, which lie at the heart of The Trentham Estate on the edge of Stoke-on-Trent, are open every day, apart from Christmas Day, offering ever-changing displays right through the year.

In winter months, the award-winning gardens and parkland provide a spectacular backdrop for a walk, whether a leisurely stroll around the mile-long lake, a garden amble, woodland wander or energetic trek up Monument Hill to enjoy views across Trentham and beyond.

While the 300 acres of landscaped parkland, gardens and woodland offer plenty to explore on a series of good footpaths, a stroll around Trentham Gardensrewards walkers with sparkling architectural displays of frosty elegance, along with winter wonder – and fragrance- in the woodland meadows.

So, grab your woolly hat, wrap-up warm and head back to nature for a winter walk with plenty to see and enjoy.

Stroll through the famous Italian Garden, designed by Tom Stuart-Smith, with its splashing fountains, as well as Piet Oudolf’s acclaimed Rivers of Grass, which are stunning throughout the long winter months. Many of the thousands of perennials – more than 400 different varieties in 70 flowerbeds – are left standing from autumn until mid January. Combined with snow, or even a frost, they provide a picture-perfect winter scene.

Then how about enjoying the circular two-mile lakeside walk, beside Capability Brown’s mile-long lake, perhaps spotting swans and herons along the way? It takes you alongside the River Trent, past a cascading weir, beside the giant dandelion sculptures and culminates with the chance of a cup of hot chocolate in the glass-fronted tearoom.

The new Woodland Meadows – designed byNigel Dunnett, who co-designed the Olympic Park’s flower meadows – include Hellebores, sometimes known as the Christmas or Lenten rose, which have elegant flowers during late winter and early spring.

Trentham’s ‘Zig Zag’ woodland walk area now offers a woodland walk wall of fragrance, thanks to 400 witch-hazels planted alongside richly scented flowers beneath a canopy of 250-year-old beech and oak, creating a new ‘perfumed walk’. Witch hazel is a superb winter-flowering shrub, with attractive, spidery flowers and a subtle, slightly spicy fragrance.

Nature may provide the starring role, but for even more winter wonder, follow Trentham’s ever-popular Fairy Trail, with sculptures of fairies and giant dandelions. Or, discover giant tree frogs emerging from the undergrowth as part of an installation of bronze wildlife sculpturesby artist David Meredith dotted around the gardens.Also open as usual throughout winter is the children’s Adventure Playground, while visitors can warm up with food and drink in the glass-fronted Italian Garden Tearoom.

Car parking is free at Trentham, and the free-entry Shopping Villageadds the chance for a seasonal shopping spree too.

Admission to the gardens from 5 November 2018 costs £9.45 for adults, £8.40 children (5-15 years) with under fours free.

For more details visit www.trentham.co.uk.