Nottingham University - The Rock Garden
w/e 01 September 2013
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

I was going to start another in the Family Walks series but as the landscape had changed and we were unable to follow the correct path to locate a footbridge over a brook we had to come up with a substitute for this page. So, as it's been well over a year since our last visit to the University Campus at Nottingham, we made tracks for there and sought out the Rock Garden instead. We'll attempt the Family Walk again at a later date.

Lenton Firs Rock Garden

We followed the footpath from the main visitor car park passing the Cripps Medical Centre and approached the Lenton Firs Rock Garden (to give it its full name) from the left higher up Cripps Hill from where this image was captured. This view though gives an overall impression of the Rock Garden and shows how it fits into the undulating hillside.
From our approach higher up the hill we were faced with a cliff of Nottingham Castle Sandstone. Much of the underlying rock in the area is sandstone extending into the city itself where it comes to the surface again to form the rock on which Nottingham Castle stands and also is the bedrock under the city through which the Caves of Nottingham have been formed. In the other direction it spreads into Derbyshire and can even be found in Ilkeston where it forms the foundations of the Erewash Museum and is visible in the basement there.
The Summer House

The garden is named after Lenton Firs, one of the older houses on the University campus which for many years was situated in a sycamore wood that contained a derelict summer house. A grant from the Nottingham Green Partnership in 2006 enabled students at the University and other volunteers to clear the site of vegetation to improve the woodland over the next two years, exposing in the process a rock garden.

The summer house is now the focal point of the garden sitting at its highest point and when I reached it, I found that someone had been here before me. A champagne bottle on the shelf and a glass of what looked like bubbly on the floor left me wondering whether someone had been celebrating exam results or maybe drowning their sorrows. What price education though if they leave their litter for someone else to clean up.
Uneven Paths

The ascent to the top can be made by several uneven paths that wind up the hillside to the top. Because of the gradient some are shorter than others to reach the objective, the shortest being from the trees behind the garden when viewed from the road.
Water Feature

Here too is a delightful little pool with the water trickling gently over a waterfall between the rock formations.
Stone Steps

From the road side of the garden a longer route up these stone steps leads to the summer house, originally of Edwardian origin, which was restored thanks to a generous donation by the University Alumni.
Bulwell Stone

Various other paths wend their way round the garden between the plants which occupy the spaces between and flow over blocks of Bulwell Stone.
Chinese Garden?

Lenton Firs (the house) and the garden were once owned by the local brewing family of Shipstone's and is said to have been known as the Chinese Garden but little more has been learned from research into the garden except that a synthetic composite around the pool and waterfall suggest that the nineteenth century firm of Pulman and Son may have been involved in its construction.
Restful Place

Since its restoration, the Rock Garden has become another pleasant and quiet, restful place in the University and having already visited the Millennium Garden, the Old Botanic Garden, the Walled Garden, various formal displays and the Vale of Tears previously, this is another on the campus that we can cross off the list. I'm sure there are more yet to be discovered and explored ....

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