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Belton's sundial was created by Caius Cibber
Belton’s sundial was made famous by author Helen Creswell, in her book Moondial | © National Trust / Gary Morgan
Nottinghamshire & Lincolnshire

Belton's Moondial walk

Inspired by Moondial, the much-loved children's book by Helen Cresswell, this short walk through Belton’s grounds takes in many spots that featured in the BBC TV version. In the story, Minty discovers that the sundial at the heart of Belton's formal gardens is a magic portal to the past. A nostalgic favourite for followers of 1980s children's drama, Moondial was filmed on location at Belton House. Follow the trail and read extracts from the book as you go.

Admittance

This walk is within Belton’s grounds and requires membership or payment for entry.

Total steps: 7

Total steps: 7

Start point

The West Courtyard, Belton House, grid ref: SK929393

Step 1

Let your eyes wander over the courtyard to the wooden door in the corner. This used to be the entrance to the garden. What do you see? How does it make you feel? Now turn around and cross the courtyard, through the tall, decorative gates following the path across the front of the mansion and through the new garden entrance.

Step 2

As you pass through the gate into the garden turn left, making your way towards the north terrace of the mansion. Step onto the terrace and look out over the Dutch Garden. Has this garden been waiting for you?

Step 3

Make your way down the steps into the sunken garden. At the bottom turn around and look back at the house. Why might Minty think she was being watched?

A large, grand house with four floors, built of sandy-coloured bricks and photographed in the peachy late-evening light of a summer sunset. Leading up to the front door of the house is a wide, gravel pathway flanked with stone urns on plinths and interspersed with small, evergreen trees but into oval shapes.
Looking back towards Belton House | © National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

Step 4

Walk on, taking steps that have already been measured for you. Lift your eyes to find ahead, at the crossroads of the garden, another statue. Can you feel the power in the air, so strong that Minty could hardly breathe? Why do you think the Gods of Time and Love are important to Moondial?

Step 5

Continue your way down the garden path and turn left at the end towards the church. Find the churchyard gate to your right and look through. This 12th-century parish church of St Peter and St Paul belongs to the Lincoln Diocese. What do you sense that signifies a mystery? What churchyard smells are in the air today?

Step 6

Make your way to the Orangery, which houses Belton's collection of lush foliage and exotic blooms. Located at the top of the Italian Garden, Sir Jeffry Wyatville designed the Orangery with glass walls and stone pillars to create an illusion. What classic Roman structure do you think Sir Jeffry was inspired by?

Belton's orangery in summer
The orangery | © Instinctive Photography

Step 7

Look out over the Italian Garden to spot the watery pool of reflecting glass. Walk towards the water fountain and sit quietly on its edge. What song reflects your feelings at this special place?

End point

The Italian Garden, Belton House, grid ref: SK929394

Trail map

Map route for Belton's Moondial walk
Belton House Moondial walk | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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