July 18th, 2010
Tatton Park: Beech Walk

Tatton Park
2008-08-22. The beech walk, Tatton Park.

There are in our existence spots of time,
That with distinct pre-eminence retain
A renovating virtue, whence, depressed…
In trivial occupations, and the round
Of ordinary intercourse, our minds
Are nourished and invisibly repaired;
— William Wordsworth, The Prelude, Book Twelfth

I have been holding the memory of this walk through Tatton Park in reserve, waiting for a miserable summer day in Austin to pull it out and use it like a charm against the heat.

I began at the Knutsford entrance and walked through the beech wood to Tatton Park garden. Almost as I begin my walk, a misty rain starts to fall. The trees are so dense that very little rain falls on me.

In Austin we are suffering drought but Cheshire has had a rainy summer. I enjoy the novelty of picking my way down the muddy track. Sometimes there are huge mucky puddles and I have to backtrack to get around them. The walk is so dark and wet that even though it is just two rows of trees lining a path, I can imagine that I’m lost deep in a forest.

Tatton Park

My only company is the sheep.

Tatton Park

I visit the gardens and have lunch the Stables Restaurant. They are promoting locally grown (Cheshire) food including vegetables grown at Tatton. This is the best meal I’ve ever had at an RHS garden. At other garden shops, it’s usually just a supermarket scone and teabag in hot water for “tea”.

I thought I’d be energized by lunch enough to tour the gardens more. I’ve been here so many times that after I visit my favorite spots I decide it’s better to begin the walk home.

Tatton Park
Of all the trees, I loved this one the best.

I linger. I loll. I meander. I soak up the impressions, stopping often to take photographs or to write. It takes almost three hours to get home: one hour down beech walk, and two hours from Knutsford to Mobberley.

Tatton Park
Melchett Mere

While here I stand, not only with the sense
Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts
That in this moment there is life and food
For future years.
— William Wordsworth, Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey


Tatton Park: The Italian Garden
Tatton Park: The Japanese Garden

by M Sinclair Stevens

12 Responses to post “Tatton Park: Beech Walk”

  1. From Carol:

    Beautiful… the pictures and the words…

  2. From renee (renee's roots):

    Miserable day is right! But these words (yours and Wordsworth’s) and the images do help a bit. i especially love the idea of my mind being nourished and invisibly repaired….

  3. From Annie in Austin:

    It’s been a few days since I first read this post, MSS… the idea of somewhere cooler and misty is so appealing right now! I kept thinking about you roaming the park for all those hours on your own and realized I’ve never done anything like that – been alone & outside in a place large enough to wander for hours.

    I went back and read the other posts on the gardens -so lovely but on that day probably occupied by other people -not sheep, thus not strong enough for a Charm against an Austin summer.

    We call natural areas “parks” here but one doesn’t walk them – one hikes them. Tatton Park looks like something a Jane Austen heroine could handle in a bedraggled skirt.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    The English countryside possesses riches for the imagination. One can pretend to be Elizabeth Bennet strolling on the grounds of Pemberley or Jane Eyre tramping across from Thornfield Hall to post a letter. On this walk, however, I was imagining Guy of Gisborne galloping through the trees chasing Robin Hood. — mss

  4. From Susan Tomlinson:

    What a peaceful post. Love the sheep. I think I want a couple for my backyard…but the schnoodles probably wouldn’t stand for it.

  5. From Diana:

    How delightful – like a long drink of cool water on a hot summer day. How clever of you to hold it for a special moment. England is on my list for vacation next summer – I’d love to get some advice from you when I start planning.

  6. From Daricia:

    Beautiful, moody photos with all the shades of gray and green. They do soothe and cool.

  7. From Vicki USA:

    What an enchanting post. Thanks for taking us along on your walk.

  8. From Jenny Austin:

    Tatton is one garden I never visited, despite having grown up within less than 50 miles. We almost always head north or east, from my birthplace, when we are back there. A beautiful place to take a long leisurely walk. Next year we plan to join the Royal Oak Society and fit in as many NT places as possible. Wonder if this is on the list.

    I highly recommend visiting Tatton. This walk was just through the park. I’ve done some posts on the gardens themselves and have another one in the works. — mss

  9. From Roberta:

    So beautiful. I could almost feel the misty rain on my face. It was a nice vicarious little escape. Thank you.

  10. From Gail:

    MSS, Thank you for the walk~What a wonderful place it’s taken me~Just before reading this post I was missing my English friends and wishing we were having tea and conversation.

    I can relate to your wanting to hold this garden until the right time~ I’ve several gardens that I’m saving for the coldest, grayest days of a Nashville winter.


  11. From basil:

    Those are truly some beautiful photographs by the way.

  12. From angelina:

    I love the “food for future years” line. I feel that way about so many places in Scotland. Before digital cameras I could never capture the details on film, now I have so many pictures to help me revisit the best parts of my trips- I love it. That looks like a wonderful place to wander around.