Walking between the National Garden Scheme Sites in West Wolverhampton
The National Garden scheme helps generate funds for various charities to support the varied but vital work they do. This includes nearly £6 million given to the National Trust since 1948. Wightwick Manor garden is open for the first time in many years to support the scheme on the 7th of June. A short walk away is 19 Waterdale, a romantic garden, full of surprises, which gradually reveals itself on a journey through deep, lush planting, full of unusual plants.
Exit Wightwick Manor's car park through the vehicle exit gates. Turn right down the hill towards the junction. Cross the road using the island and walk a short way up the right hand side of Windmill hill.
The teetotal pub owner
Theodore Mander once owned the Mermaid pub, an odd choice for a Congregationalist. He built a family room and encouraged the landlord to sell food and non-alcoholic drinks.
Take the path on the right before the bridge onto the Staffordshire & Worcestershire canal tow path. Turn left and walk along the tow path past Wightwick locks towards Compton.
The lost estate
The Mander's estate used to extend along the canal and included the mill complex visible off to the left as you walk. The estate was sold at auction in 1920, the only lot that didn't sell was the house and garden you can now visit.
Before the next bridge go through the metal gate from the tow path and up the drive to the Compton road and turn right to walk over the bridge. Follow the main road crossing over Finchfield Hill past Compton Hospice. Continue up the hill using the pavement over the brow of the hill taking care when crossing side roads.
Hodson of Compton Hall
Compton Hospice is built around Compton Hall, home to Laurence Hodson, Wolverhampton brewer. Hodson commissioned William Morris to decorate his house, and the Compton design was Morris' last design. Four drawings which used to belong to Hodson are now part of the collection at Wightwick, bought in 2014.
Shortly past the pelican crossing with the park on the other side of the road Waterdale road leads off to the right. Follow up to the end of the road.
As you near the end of the road look out for the National Garden Scheme banners. Enjoy 19 Waterdale garden, winner of the Daily Mail National Garden Competition 2015.
A bit more about what you are about to see
A romantic garden, full of surprises, which gradually reveals itself on a journey through deep, lush planting, full of unusual plants. From the sunny, flower filled terrace, a ruined folly emerges from a luxuriant fernery and leads into an oriental garden, complete with teahouse. Towering bamboos hide the way to the gothic summerhouse and mysterious shell grotto.
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