Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The Green Grass of Home

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The Green Grass of Home

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jennifer Bradbury

The North East boasts a plethora of parks and gardens which are open to the public. Jennifer Bradbury offers a taster of just a few of them

Saltwell Park, in the heart of Gateshead, is one of Britain's finest examples of a Victorian park.

Part of Gateshead's heritage since it opened to the public in 1876, the park is steeped in history and Victorian splendour.

And it is in the final stages of a massive five-year transformation which has restored the park to its original glory.

It's home to 11 listed buildings and monuments, including the Gothic mansion Saltwell Towers, once home of Shipley Art Gallery founder J A Shipley.

Saltwell Park brings an air of grandeur and a fabulous green space to the heart of Gateshead.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund in partnership with Gateshead Council, the pounds 10m renovation project is due for completion in spring 2005.

The park's wildlife population includes owls, bats, woodpeckers, swans, ducks and squirrels.

There are two different Victorian landscapes in the 55-acre park. The first, in the centre of the park, is the private mansion of Saltwell Towers and its landscaped gardens, designed by William Wailes.

The second is the parkland to the north of the Wailes estate. The area follows a classic mid-19th Century style and is laid out in a series of garden rooms depicting different characters, from meadow to a formal Italian garden.

Attractions include the restored boating lake and, in the dene, a woodland valley. Here, restoration work includes the introduction of waterfalls, pools and cascades, plus the replacing of a lost timber bridge.

There are also free tennis and basketball facilities. For more information, phone (0191) 433 3445.

Northumberland's Belsay Hall, Castle and Garden, is renowned for its 30 acres of magnificent garden landscapes boasting plantings dating back 200 years, formal terraces, stunning herbaceous borders and a wealth of natural treasures for all seasons.

Rhododendrons are among Belsay's greatest floral delights, providing a spectacular blaze of colour from mid-November right through to April, while the winter garden features mahonias, conifers, hollies and an abundance of scented heathers. …

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