Being members of the National Trust certainly has its benefits. One of which is being able to visit and walk around Quarry Bank Mill. A local place, but sometimes it is the simplest of pleasures.
Quarry Bank Mill
It seems that it has been a very long time since I last wrote about a visit to Quarry Bank Mill. Around two years in fact. And boy has it changed there – from completion of the glass house to the established new parts of the garden. I think I might even have to dedicate a post to the place soon.
For now though, our recent visit took us around the gardens to enjoy the spring colours of Rhododendron, tulips and budding trees. Then we took through the woods to wander our way to nearby Wilmslow.
Garden on a hill
I find hillside gardens more impressive than you can imagine. I sometimes have difficulty keeping the soil in my slightly arched borders, let along planting on a cliff like surface. There is also the combination of woodland walks, rocky stone faces and water which make the gardens at Quarry Bank Mill one of my favourites. There is just so much interest all year round.
The dappled sunshine on the lush green foliage under the trees was a favourite sight from the day. I think the vivid colours of spring, combined with the sun and cool, crisp, air are why it is my favourite season. That and Autumn for a similar reason, but more golden hues.
Rhododendrons and Hydrangea time!
If I had to choose only one time of the year for you to visit a National Trust garden, it would have to be now. When the big, bright, blossoms of the ancient Rhododendrons and Hydrangeas are in full show. Many of the National Trust properties have Rhododendron walks, which are an immersive experience where you just disappear into the scent and love for the giant plants and gentle flowers.
There isn’t a specific “Rhody” walk at Quarry Bank Mill, but they certainly don’t fail with the colours and flowers.
Every year when I see these stunning petals, I plant to add some to our garden at home. The same number of time I do that, I fail to decide which I would like to add. With a small garden, it is somewhat of a challenge not to buy all the colours!
I do dream of having a garden large enough to cater for such beauties, but I also remember reality. I simply couldn’t spend the time in and on the garden when I am out and about or on holiday so much. So the National Trust gardens satisfy that urge while I indulge in my imagination for a massive plot of land. Another space for this kind of idealised game is Dunham Massey, which is not far away.
Into the woods
Coming out from the gardens on the Mill level, you will be able to follow the water towards to woodland on the other side of the bridge. I have found that this route can be rather unfrequented, which makes for a lovely place to stroll.
National Trust properties tend to be in equally lovely places and I have taken to mooching around outside the grounds as much as in them. I personally find that it helps you to get more of a feel for the area and to understand a bit more about the stories being shared in the homes and museums.
Have you ever noticed the distinct smell of houmous in the woods around May-time? That is the delicious smell of the wild garlic (which is not the picture above) Sadly due to the recent rain, I couldn’t get close enough to grab a cheeky sniff or shot of the garlic, but it has reminded me to make some pesto with the plants I’m growing in our garden.
On the other side of the woodland, the area opens up into The Carrs Park – which now I type it sounds really funny! It is a fantastically large par with well laid paths, wild flower gardens, play areas and even a little cafe. There are even plenty of people using it, which to me is a sign of an excellent park. Although we have plenty near us, you can sometimes struggle to count twenty people even on a sunny day.
This is another series I am working on this year – highlighting the amazing open spaces and public parks many of us seem to forget to visit. By the end of the series I am hoping that I will be able to share some stories from people around here who now make more use of their parks. Anyway, I digress! We took our walk through Carrs and into Wilmslow for a wander through the shopping district.
Our walk back to Quarry Bank Mill was even quieter than the wander earlier. I am not sure whether it was the brewing rain storm which had rattled the birds, but the air was filled with a cacophony of bird song. It is the kind of sound which gets me up at 3:00am for a walk down the canal. Only the afternoon is somewhat more civilised and less tiring.
As the staff and volunteers prepared to start closing the grounds, we had a final wander as the place began to quieten further. Families made their way up towards the car park and we lagged behind.
Sometimes time doesn’t allow for a far away adventure but having access to multiple National Trust properties is definitely a bonus. It might be a larger outlay at one time, but it means that cheap weekend trips can be kept fairly cheap. I am not sure which we will visit next, but I know we will be choosing it soon.
Have you visited Quarry Bank Mill? Are you a member of the National Trust?
Which is your favourite Trust property and why?
Let me know in the comments.
Quarry Bank Mill
Address: Styal Rd, Styal, Wilmslow SK9 4LA