Winter always brings a seasonal treat for visitors to Trentham Gardens, but this year a spot of fresh air, glistening landscapes and a sense of wellbeing look like being even more welcome than ever.
Open right through the year, apart from Christmas Day, Staffordshire’s award-winning gardens offer natural social distancing, and a chance to escape the everyday in the Great Outdoors, whatever the season.
But for winter, nature stages an extra-special show.
And this year, nature’s beauty, as well as getting out in the open air and rediscovering a sense of wellbeing, look set to be even more important than ever in people’s lives.
Winter adds an extra perspective to Trentham’s celebrated landscapes, crafted by two of the nation’s finest historic garden designers, with the splendour of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown’s woodland, parkland and lake, complementing the formality and garden architecture of Charles Barry’s Italianate terraces, which look stunning with a frosty glaze.
Elsewhere across the Estate, sustainably planted woodland meadows come alive with thousands of winter flowering Hellebores – known as the Christmas Rose because of its large, bowl-shaped, glistening white flowers – along with evergreen ferns, grasses and wood anemones.
But as well as the sights of winter, Trentham brings a sense of smell too, with groves of fragrant winter flowering shrubs coming into their own at this time of year.
Filling the winter air with scent will be 400 witch hazel, in four varieties, a superb winter-flowering shrub with attractive, spidery flowers and a subtle, slightly spicy fragrance, while winter flowering honeysuckle, Lonicera Purpusii, adds sweetly fragrant creamy white flowers, living up to its more common name, ‘Winter Beauty’.
Perfect for a winter walk, or just admiring nature’s seasonal show, Trentham also boasts a wide range of wildlife habitats, including a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) ancient woodland pasture, which is currently being restored and extended across Monument Hill, North Park, and West Park on the 725-acre historic estate.
Adding to the wildlife experience on offer, visitors can also discover rich aquatic habitats, such as the lake, River Trent and its tributaries, as well as wetland and woodland ponds.
Previously owned by the Dukes of Sutherland for 400 years, since re-opening to the public 16 years ago Trentham Gardens – on the edge of Stoke-on Trent – has been lovingly restored, with new contemporary twists on the historic designs.
Many of those provide some stunning winter displays, especially today’s 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.
For even more seasonal wonder, follow Trentham’s ever-popular Fairy Trail, with wire sculptures of fantasy fairies even more photogenic with a dusting of frost or snow, or peeking through misty winter mornings.
As an outdoor public space, Trentham Gardens remains open under Government rules, and aims to continue offering its visitors a Covid-secure place to enjoy time outside of the home. Current Covid safety measures include pre-booking and a one-way system around the gardens, while areas where social distancing is not possible remain closed.
For the latest details and more information, see www.trentham.co.uk.