Admission charges at Belton
Normal admission charges or National Trust membership applies when accessing this walk, please visit visitor reception before you set off.
Total steps: 9
Total steps: 9
Belton Estate, Grantham, Lincolnshire NG32 2LS.
Make your way from the visitor reception building to the stable yard and enter the gardens. Stepping through the garden entrance, you’ll find yourselves in the Italian Gardens. Inspired by the 1st Earl’s Grand Tour of Italy, Sir Jeffry Wyatville was commissioned to design this sunken garden in the early nineteenth century. Successive Brownlow generations enhanced and enriched its plants and sculptures. Boasting a fountain centrepiece, topiary, and borders full of vibrant colour in the summer months, the Italian Garden is a delight to discover.
The Conservatory is on the left. Overlooking the Italian Garden, this protective environment is home to a collection of lush foliage and exotic blooms. Californian and Kentia Palms add texture and height. Pelargoniums frame a tranquil pool, serenely overlooked by Belton’s bather statue. Designed by Jeffry Wyatville in 1810 and built in 1820, Belton’s Conservatory was crafted around a cast-iron sub-frame, making it the first garden building of its type in England. Turn right here, and follow the path towards the Pleasure Grounds. You’ll find the first signs of snowdrops immediately on your left-hand side!
You'll pass a path on your right-hand side, which leads to the Dutch Gardens and the moondial. The 3rd Earl commissioned the Dutch Garden in the late nineteenth century. The garden takes its name from the layout of the colourful parterres divided by topiary-lined gravel paths and was inspired by Dutch design.
Continue to follow the path alongside the Mirror Pond, which is presided over by the tranquil figure of a white lady statue and a gnarled and twisted 250-year-old beech tree. The ‘eye-catcher’ stone temple provides a sheltered spot and wonderful reflections on a still day. Keep to the left past the stone temple.
On a bright day there are lovely views of the mansion across the mirror pond. The former home of the Brownlow family until 1984, Belton House is often cited as being the perfect example of an English country house estate. The 17th-century Carolean treasure house contains fine collections of porcelain, silver, paintings and books.
At the crossroads, go straight over. This section of the Pleasure Grounds changes seasonally with autumn leaf colour and spring bulbs. At this time of year, you can marvel at the drifts of snowdrops that carpet the grounds here. When you're ready, take the next left and follow the path up to the lakes.
Here you'll find the entrance to the lakes. At this point you can turn right to go around the lakes, or you can turn left for a shorter circular walk. The paths around the lakes are uneven, unsurfaced and seasonally muddy. There are benches around the lake.
Boathouse Pond and the magnificent 19th-century Fishing Lodge were used by the Brownlow family for private picnics and fishing parties. The bankside vegetation includes water mint, yellow flag iris and mature multi-stemmed alder. You can see a range of waterfowl, including mute swan, Canada and greylag geese, great crested grebe, shoveller, coot and mallard duck, at different times of the year. The island would originally have been less overgrown and included ornamental shrubs. It’s likely that boats would have landed there for picnics and bird watching.
Follow the path around the lake and past the Fishing Lodge. Moving on, you'll quickly reach a wooden footbridge. Down to the right there's a cascade and rockery garden, sheltered by mature lime and oak which formed the original approach to the pond.
Designed by Anthony Salvin in 1821 in the Swiss chalet style, this was the centrepiece of the pleasure grounds. Restoration works, for which an appeal was launched, were completed in 2008. Note the unusual fish scale shaped tiles on the roof, the leaded windows and the basket weave ‘pargetting’ or plasterwork on its walls. Used by the Brownlow family for private picnics and fishing parties, there is a hearth for an open fire. A boathouse was also built on the dam next to the Fishing Lodge. It was a simple design with timber sides and a pitched roof for launching and landing boats for fishing, bird watching or carrying people across to the island. Its stone steps can still be seen just in front of the bench.
When you reach the top of Boathouse Pond, you can continue around to the top lake, or turn left to continue around Boathouse Pond.
Tar Lane Pond
Originally more precise in size and shape, the pond was re-worked and ‘naturalised’ by Emes in the mid-18th century. It is fed with water from higher ground on the estate which, in turn, feeds Boathouse Pond. A sluice gate controls the flow of water beyond this point, which from time to time would have topped up the mirror pond in the formal gardens. Tar Lane Pond has more aquatic plants than Boathouse Pond, including large rafts of stunning water lilies in summer, brooklime and bulrushes. Tadpoles are in abundance in the spring and can easily be seen from the water’s edge. Quieter than the other pond, it attracts a diverse range of waterfowl including egrets, tufted ducks, kingfishers and little grebes.
Take a rest here on the bench and enjoy picturesque views of the Fishing Lodge. Once back at the gates, turn right.
Once you're at the crossroads, you can continue straight on towards the statue walk or explore other pathways. Don't forget to share your snowdrop photos with us!
Belton Estate, Grantham, Lincolnshire NG32 2LS.
The terrain is generally firm and flat with occasional inclines and uneven surfaces. The paths may be muddy at times.
Belton Estate, Grantham, Lincolnshire NG32 2LW.
Bus 1 (Lincoln to Grantham) and Bus 27 (Sleaford to Grantham) both stop outside the main entrance of Belton.
Located on the A607, Grantham to Lincoln road, Belton House is signposted from the A1 and A52. SatNav: please use 'Belton Village' for directions.
Dogs are welcome on this walk on a short lead.
Parking is provided free of charge but all visitors (including National Trust members) must obtain a ticket from visitor reception.
Trampers are available for hire from Visitor Reception, these can be pre-booked by calling 01476566116. This walk is accessible with the Trampers and can be accessible for pushchairs. In autumn and winter, the paths around the lakes can get very muddy.
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