A Day At Alton Towers
- The Gardens
w/e 21 September
I suppose most visitors to the theme park at Alton Towers are
attracted by the white knuckle rides such as Oblivion, Black
Hole, Nemesis, Runaway Train and Corkscrew and also the gentler
- and wetter - White Water Rapids. Whilst we viewed all of these
and many more during our visit, we particularly enjoyed a part
of Alton Towers that does not normally attract the same number
of people as the areas containing the rides. In fact many visitors
only pass through this area and use it as a short cut between
one set of amusements and another.
That area is the gardens where it is possible to find a place
of peace and quiet away from the screams, shouts, music and hubbub
in the rest of the park. At the side of this lake, we stood and
watched fish swimming in the shallow waters around the edge.
The gardens were begun in 1814 by the Earl of Shrewsbury who
engaged celebrated architects to design the layout. He often
modified the designs but for the most part they remain almost
unaltered from the original concept today. A path leads through
topiary arches .....
..... to a conservatory and gives many different views to statues
and monuments along the way. The gardens are well known for the
amount of buildings and statues they contain.
The two ends of the conservatory are separated by a veranda adorned
with hanging baskets.
Immaculately mowed lawns between the shrubbery and strategically
placed garden seats are a temptation too great to resist and
offer a place to view the monument in the form of a Grecian Temple
to the memory of the Earl. The monument bears the inscription
"He Made The Desert Smile Again".
At this time of year the hues of the leaves on the trees are
only too apparent and at other times the flowers of the rhododendrons
that abound must make a beautiful splash of colour. The design
of the gardens is so good that even the wall seems to blend effortlessly
into the surroundings.
The gardens are situated in the valley of the River Churnet and
numerous paths crisscross along each side. Although not in operation
on the day we visited, a more memorable view of the gardens would
surely be achieved from the chair lift that crosses the valley.
The path we followed led to these stepping stones
where evidence of the fine summer could be seen in the green
algae in the water.
Ornamental steps and a small bridge add a focal point to this
view but wherever you are in the extensive gardens there is always
something of interest to catch the eye.
As we climbed back up out of the valley, more formal flower beds
put in an appearance. These pink flowers in particular were covered
with butterflies. If you are ever tempted to visit Alton Towers,
take a tip from me and make sure you have a good look around
the gardens - you won't be disappointed.