Wallington Hall is at the end of some of the windiest roads I have ever been on. Winding roads which lead to four gargoyles who guard the Hall and its grounds. I make it sound as though Wallington is in the middle of nowhere, when in fact it is only 35 minutes in the car from Newcastle and 20 minutes from Morpeth.
My blog about Wallington is an amalgamation of two visits, one in one in March and one in May. I visited twice because the wildflowers in the UK have a strict schedule and they don’t like to bloom at the same time as each other. The flowers I came to visit were: crocuses, tulips, blossom, bluebells, anemones and snowdrops. I also wanted to visit the house, which was sadly shut on my first visit. Of course I was also attempting to spot an otter, but on both visits I was wearing my otter repellent.
It is interesting to see how a house which was first built in 1780’s has been changed and extended over the years. It was owned by the Blackett and Trevelyan families who opened their home to others. My favourite part of the grounds is the walled garden which was created by Walter Trevelyan, an avid plant lover. The Victorian era turned Wallington into an artistic centre. Then in the 1940’s Sir Charles Trevelyan decided the estate should be enjoyed by everyone and donated the area to the National Trust. The house itself smells like an old library, a smell which my photographer adores. I personally loved the jazzy wallpaper which has been on the walls since the 1880’s. The room full of dolls houses (or for me, normal sized houses) was an amazing site. Some had electricity and one was 9 feet long (7.5 dinosaurs). I’m sad I wasn’t able to explore the second floor of the building but it must take a lot of work keeping everything in working order.
In the UK we have been lucky enough to have a mild and sunny spring, so I was extra adventurous and took the path which went around the outside of the grounds, with a stop at the river. Leaving the house via the West lawn, I headed over to the boathouse pond. It is a great spot for birdwatching but I preferred hiding amongst the wild primroses (and maybe eating some). A steep track through the trees led down to the River Wansbeck, a haven for lots of animals. At the bottom of the hill I found a great bench with a great view. On my first visit the whole area was carpeted in snowdrops, the second visit was greener with a few forget-me-nots appearing through the grass. It is such a peaceful area, I sat for an hour and didn’t see another human. The trout were jumping in the river which was an incredible sight. Though the crayfish and otters were busy hiding somewhere.
My second visit to the river walk was truly beautiful. I had timed it perfectly to see the wooded hills carpeted in bluebells, the grassy on the riversides had small white anemone flowers scattered like white stars. There was an area covered in beautiful yellow flowers too, though neither my photographer or I knew what they were. This path is meant to follow along through the trees once you have walked under the brigde. But sadly, the trees all fell over in the November storms and the route is too dangerous.
Instead you can follow the river to the old forge. There is no bridge to cross the river, the alternative is so much more exciting! Stepping stones take you across the river and up towards the walled garden. There is an alternative route which follows the road towards the farm if you are unable to jump across the stones or the river has flooded.
The route up to the walled garden is hidden amongst the blossom trees. I didn’t realise until the second time I completed this route, I had walked it in reverse. The entrance (or exit) to the walled garden was through a beautiful old gate. It was reminiscent of The Secret Garden. It was like wandering through the book as I was walking down some of the less trodden paths. The blossom trees were blooming beautifully alongside so many other flowers. The beehives in the centre were a hype of activity. I can’t comment on all of the flowers but I will say spring is a wonderful time to visit. At the top of the garden lies the conservatory, or glass house. Many of you will know my photographer is obsessed with glass houses and botanical gardens, so spent an hour in heaven. 100% worth checking out, but as of May 2022 it has been closed due to having an unsafe structure. Though you can still look through the windows. There are some rare plants and a jasmine plant which smells divine. I thought it rivalled some of the bigger botanical gardens I have visited.
Outside of the conservatory is a strip of grass which was covered in purple crocuses on my first visit, then with tulips on my return in May. I love how the flowers keep changing, making each visit like going somewhere new. The only thing I am sad about is missing the wisteria bloom, I think I was one or two weeks too early.
I finished my walk with a trip around the China pond where I made two new friends. A small robin decided it would be fun to follow my photographer, it even did a nice pose for the camera. I also met a bunny, who was enjoying a snooze in the shade. Little did I realise I had covered 5 miles, with a few short stops in between, making it a perfect excuse to head back to the courtyard in search of a baked potato for lunch.
Stay tuned for my photo diary of Wallington Hall.
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