One of Cragside’s original features being given a new lease of life

Monday 13/04/2015

One of Cragside’s original features being given a new lease of life

One of Cragside’s original features being given a new lease of life

This year visitors to Cragside House and Gardens will be invited to get hands on and help make some changes to one of the estate’s original features.

Cragside’s Ivy Bridge, which crosses the Debdon Burn, was designed for plant pots to be inserted across its span, but these recesses have been standing empty for some time. Now the National Trust is asking visitors to help them plant seasonal pots to be displayed on the bridge for the first time in many years.

This coincides with National Gardening Week (13-19 April) during which Cragside will be hosting a series of walks, talks and activities celebrating the magic of gardens.

The team from the National Trust estate in Rothbury, Northumberland, hope to inspire their visitors to get gardening by sharing Lord Armstrong’s passion for all things horticultural.

Assistant Head Gardener, Dale Stevens said: “It’s great to celebrate National Gardening week at Cragside and it’s a wonderful opportunity to share our gardens and hopefully inspire and encourage people to try their hand at gardening at home”

“I’m especially excited as this year we’re offering visitors an exclusive opportunity to be part of something that hasn’t been done at Cragside for a long time!”

When Cragside was the home of Lord Armstrong, Victorian innovator and landscape genius, the sides of the Ivy Bridge were covered in clipped ivy which made a green arch in the landscape. The nooks across the bridge would then have been used to take seasonal pot plants.

Dale continued: “It would have been planted with colourful foliage and flowers and would really enhance the walk over to the formal gardens throughout the year for the Armstrongs. We are going to be planting it with different ivy and all things colourful. I can’t wait to see the finished result.”

Any plants of interest would have been used by the Armstrongs as it was just a fleeting way of displaying plants – and just a little bit of showing off!

Property Curator Andrew Sawyer explained: “It is a very significant place in the history of Cragside. The Ivy Bridge was an important crossing of the Debdon Burn to the Formal Garden from the House in days gone by and it was also a popular route for the Armstrong family to take as they walked to and from their church in Rothbury. I’m sure guests would have been surprised and impressed by this unusual floral display among the clipped ivy surrounding the bridge.” 

Assistant Head Gardener, Dale Stevens, will be overseeing the exclusive opportunity for visitors to plant one of only thirty terracotta pots to sit on the bridge. (*£10 per pot, max of 2 adults per pot)

National Gardening Week was launched four years ago by the Royal Horticultural Society and since then it has grown into the country’s biggest celebration of gardening. Thousands of people, gardens, charities, retailers, culture and heritage organisations and groups get involved and this year there are more than 200 events taking place across the UK.

A variety of walks, talks and activities will also be taking place to celebrate the magic of gardens within Cragside and beyond including guided talks around the Formal Garden with The National Trust gardening volunteers, who will be giving visitors an introduction to the gardens and seasonal highlights (Tuesday 14 April, Wednesday 15 April; 12-1pm)

Property Curator Andrew Sawyer will also be hosting a talk on the magic of wildflowers, taking visitors on a personal journey into the joy of the wildflowers of Northumberland and County Durham from childhood until the present day (Friday 17 April, 11am-12pm)

The internal road up to the Formal Garden car park is currently inaccessible to vehicles whilst assessment of its structural condition is being carried out. Between 13-20 April it will also be unavailable to pedestrians, so that essential investigative works can be undertaken on site.

Visitors will be able to walk to the Formal Gardens along a route through the Debdon Valley and across the estate’s iconic Iron Bridge. Unfortunately, due to the terrain, this route will be unsuitable for visitors with mobility issues.

Tuesday April 14

National Gardening Week: Guided walk

12pm-1pm

Join volunteers Geoff or Chris for a guided walk through the formal gardens, passing beneath the bridge and climbing up through the rock garden towards the house. The tour includes an introduction to the different parts of the garden and seasonal highlights.

Sign up at the shop, meet in the formal garden.

Free*

Wednesday April 15

National Gardening Week: Guided walk

12pm-1pm

Join volunteers Geoff or Chris for a guided walk through the formal gardens, passing beneath the bridge and climbing up through the rock garden towards the house. The tour includes an introduction to the different parts of the garden and seasonal highlights.

Sign up at the shop, meet in the formal garden.

Free*

Thursday April 16

National Gardening Week: Planting the Ivy Bridge

12pm-1pm

The Ivy Bridge was designed for plant pots to be inserted across its span, but these recesses have been standing empty for some time. Assistant Head Gardener Dale Stevens will be on hand to oversee this exclusive opportunity to plant one of only 30 terracotta pots to sit on the bridge. Pots and plants provided.

£10 per pot (max. 2 people per pot)*

Booking Essential

Friday April 17

National Gardening Week: My Favourite Weeds – a life with wildflowers

11am-12pm

Andrew Sawyer, Property Curator, takes us on a personal journey into the wonderful magic and joy of wildflowers of Northumberland and County Durham from childhood to present day

£6 including a cuppa and biscuits*

Booking Essential

Saturday April 18

National Gardening Week: The 1000 acre garden - Ranger walk

1.30-3.30pm

Join one of our Rangers for a rugged hike to explore parts of Cragside that are off the beaten track. You’ll be led through the amazing landscape of rocks, caves and secret pathways that you just can’t see through the car window.

Sign up at the shop (limited spaces) and meet on the house forecourt.

Free*

Sunday 19 April

National Gardening Week: Gardens of Imagination

11am-3pm

Design and create your own miniature garden with the materials we provide – will yours look like Cragside or completely different?

£2*

*Normal admission charges apply. Members and under 5s go free.

For more information on these activities and others taking place to celebrate National Gardening Week, visit www.nationalgardeningweek.org.uk or www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cragside

Published: Monday 13/04/2015

By Visit Northumberland

Places in this article

Outside Cragside House Gardens and Estate
NE65 7PX

Creation of Lord Armstrong, Victorian inventor and landscape genius. Gardens, red squirrels, woodland and lakeside walks.

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