Elvaston - In The Country Park
w/e 30 August 2009
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

Previous visits to Elvaston have seen us look at Lord Harrington's Castle in 2003 and Around The Village in 2006. This time when we returned to Elvaston Castle we divided our time between the grounds of the Country Park and the walled garden.

Vibrant Borders

In 2006 when we passed one of the locked gates to the walled garden I commented that it was "in need of some serious attention" but on this occasion, we found the garden gate open and that indeed someone had given a lot of attention to the majority of the garden. Lawns had been neatly trimmed and borders were resplendent with vibrant colours.

The walls of the garden I would estimate to be about ten feet high so this small plantation of sunflowers must measure at least eight feet. To the right of the picture a ramp leads up to another smaller walled area within one corner of the walled garden.
Sunken Garden

The raised area surrounds what best can be described as a sunken garden and this is one area still in need of some attention. Off shot to the left though two men were hard at work pruning and tidying the area so it will soon be ideal to take advantage of the seats provided to sit and enjoy the views.
Old English Garden

And it would be foolish not to pause and enjoy views such as this. With a huge variety of plants in all the colours of the rainbow, the walled garden has been renamed the Old English Garden and as well as the herbaceous borders, it also contains a herb garden and several exotic trees.
Crossing The Avenue

Leaving the garden we entered the adjacent wooded area which is bisected by one of the wide grassy avenues that lead up the house.


After crossing the avenue we reached this small brook and turned to follow it upstream towards the lake. In the opposite direction it eventually feeds into the River Derwent at Ambaston. As the schools are still closed for the summer, there were a lot of children running about between the trees and near the water with many an anxious parent following on behind.

Around the lake are a number of tufa and granite rock follies and grottoes and these too prove to be irresistible magnets for youngsters who love to climb on and over them. Yes I had to look it up too but tufa is described as "a terrestrial sedimentary rock, formed by the precipitation of carbonate minerals from ambient temperature water bodies." So now you know!

On the lake we found a flotilla of waterfowl including the usual suspects of Canada geese, swans and ducks. The gardens and the lake at Elvaston were created between 1830 and 1851 for the 4th Earl of Harrington by the Scottish landscape designer William Barron. An interesting point in the history of Elvaston is that the famous landscape gardener Capability Brown had earlier refused a commission to develop the estate by the 3rd Earl because of the flatness of the grounds.

Not all the birds were on the lake though as this fine example of the art of topiary for which Elvaston is famous shows. In 2003 I wrote that the many attractions at Elvaston "beckon the visitor to return a second - and third - time" but as this marks the third visit, I'm thinking that there is still more of the Country Park to be seen and future return visits could well be on the cards.

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