There’s nothing quite like a British garden in full bloom and this one is a real hidden gem!
The Dorothy Clive Garden is a gorgeous place to go for a walk with your dog. There is a large car park on site and the cost of parking is included in the entrance fee. The garden is run by a registered charity that relies on support from visitors, see the website for current prices and opening times. There is no additional charge for dogs but they must be kept on a lead at all times. (If it looks like we let Elsa off her lead, it’s either an edited photo or my husband hiding behind the nearest tree; she was always on a lead, we promise!)
We were given a free paper map when we entered, similar to the one pictured on the sign below. The garden is informal and divided into several different sections including a quarry garden, waterfall, woodland walk and Royal Botanic Glasshouse.
Elsa loves exploring her surroundings and this was an ideal place for her to experience new sights, sounds and smells.
The garden has existed since the 1940’s when it was initially created by Colonel Harry Clive for his wife Dorothy. In the 1950’s the garden was entrusted to a small independent charity called The Willoughbridge Garden Trust and the site has continued to grow into the much larger, 12 acre garden that we can enjoy today. [Source: http://dorothyclivegarden.co.uk/history/]
There was an abundance of colour everywhere when we visited – from bluebells to azaleas and rhododendrons; Spring is definitely a good time to visit if you enjoy seeing large scale, spectacular floral displays.
Elsa loves going to places like this, she is an outdoor adventurer and always likes to be on the move!
The atmosphere in the garden is serene. Although we passed several other people while we were there it didn’t feel crowded.
Elsa practically ran around the whole garden, dragging us along behind her…
We did manage to get her to sit and pose in a stunning patch of bluebells…There are lots of amazing photo opportunities throughout the garden. You can even hire it as a venue for your wedding!
Defined routes are marked out on the map, intersected with smaller desire paths that take you into hidden corners of the garden…
One route took us to an edge of the garden where Elsa met a horse… and decided to bark at him! Fortunately he wasn’t fazed by the encounter, although it took more than a few treats to lure her away from her new friend.
There are interesting things to see around every corner of the garden, including this tree stump ‘throne’ with toadstool and an impressive stag sculpture! (Pictured below).
Along with the beautiful floral displays, the garden was also buzzing with wildlife and we were lucky enough to see several butterflies and birds, including a woodpecker!
|What is that on your face Elsa?|
There is a tearoom for visitors in the grounds of the garden with plenty of tables and chairs outside where you can sit and enjoy the scenery. (Unfortunately dogs are not allowed inside the tearoom.)
The Dorothy Clive Garden also hosts a number of events including a plant exhibitions, pottery workshops, bat walks and there is a fun dog show held in the summer! Click here for more information.
We spent about an hour walking around, before Elsa’s batteries finally ran out and we decided to head to a nearby, dog friendly pub for lunch.
|Elsa in the Alpine Scree|
We’ll probably visit again in summer or autumn so that we can experience different aspects of the garden as it grows throughout the year…
Willoughbridge, Market Drayton, Shropshire, TF9 4EU