Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Rhubarb : Colclough Walled Garden


Walled garden

Established over 200 years ago and abandoned after Lucey Marie left Tintern Colclough (pronounced Coke-lee) Walled Garden has undergone a transformation in the past 4 or so years. The original layout has been reinstated using an Ordnance Survey Of Ireland historical map dated 1838. The map showed path structure, bridges, location of vegetable garden and fruit trees. It finally reopened in 2012.

At Tintern Abbey I joined Heritage Ireland and the card admitted me also to the Walled Garden.

Woodland path

The approach from the Abbey is through the former village of Tintern and along a woodland path with a strong smell of garlic and fading bluebells.

edge of ornamental

The Edge of the Ornamental Garden

Veg garden

The Kitchen Garden

The garden is divided into an Ornamental Garden and a Kitchen Garden.

Rhubarb for sale

Rhubarb seems to a popular vegetable for May. The south-facing sheltered garden also supports Mediterranean fruits and efforts are made to garden as ecologically and organically as possible.

sheltered and south facing

Oranges and Lemons

Returning to the Abbey and Car park I followed the longer route over the Battlemented Abbey Bridge and past the ruined church and burial ground.

Battlemented Abbey Bridge




TA Church

Ruined Church and Graveyard

hazel wood quotation


Sweet Pea Week at Easton Walled Garden, Lincolnshire

‘A Dream of Nirvana – Almost too good to be true’ – President Roosevelt on a visit to Easton, summer 1902

Easton Garden 1

Easton Walled Garden

It’s a long old drive from Felixstowe in Suffolk up to Leeds. I was in no hurry to leave the comfortable and welcoming rectory in Alderton and join the busy A14 west and then the A1 north. The weather had taken a distinct turn for the better so I checked my list of possible stops en route and decided on Easton Walled Garden in Lincolnshire just a minute or two from the A1. By then I’d have more than half of the journey behind me. According to the website the gardens are open Wednesdays to Fridays and Sundays throughout the season. Dash it! I was travelling on a Monday. But wait. What’s this? The gardens had some additional opening days – daily for a week in February for the snowdrops and daily for a week 30 June to 6 July (this year) for Sweet Peas! My luck was in.

The gardens are at least 400 years old. They cover 12 acres of a beautiful valley just off the A1. Home to the Cholmeley family for 14 generations, the gardens were abandoned in 1951 when Easton Hall was pulled down. The revival of these gardens has been ongoing since late 2001.

Easton Hall 19C

Easton Hall in the 19th century

There had been a house on this site since at least 1592 when Sir Henry Cholmeley (1562-1620) came to live in Lincolnshire on the death of his Uncle, Robert Cholmeley, in 1590 … Sir Henry built his house on a site overlooking the River Witham and this is believed to have survived until the beginning of the 19th Century …In 1805 the house was altered and enlarged by Sir Montague Cholmeley, first baronet (1772-1831). … In 1872 [the hall was described] as ‘large and handsome, with large and elegantly furnished apartments, containing many valuable paintings and other works of art’. … [The Hall] was requisitioned at the start of the Second World War. It became home to units of the Royal Artillery and and of the 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (of Arnhem fame) for four years, in which time it suffered considerable damage both to the fabric of the building and to the remaining contents. In 1951 the Hall was demolished. … The family still own the estate and have been the driving force behind the gardens revival.” [From the website]


The Gatehouse

remaining buildings

The remaining buildings from the orchard site now a wildflower meadow


Canalised R Witham

River Witham canalised by the Elizabethans …

ornamental bridge

… shored up and bridged by the Victorians

Easton Garden

Easton Garden. In the middle is the Yew Tunnel.

Yew Tunnel

The Yew Tunnel

Birds from hide

Bird Feeders from the Viewing Area

Having stretched my legs and inspected the extensive gardens I returned to the cottage garden, the pickery and the history and information rooms to look at the sweet peas and learn more about them and Easton Hall and Gardens.

Pick your own

Pick Your Own

Sweet pea inspections

Sweet Peas in the Cottage Garden

SP display 2

Sweet Pea Specimens

Even the worst flower arranger cannot fail to make a decent fist of arranging sweet peas. To start they usually look best on their own, they will look good in a wide-necked or a narrow container and whatever you do, the scent will make up for any artistic shortcomings. The only rule to be aware of is to make sure your container is in proportion to the size of the stems. Short grandiflora peas look good in little vintage medicine bottles. Large flowers for exhibition can be placed in traditional vases up to about 10 inches high.” [Information Board]


Beautiful! – And smell even better.


World Monument. The Salginatobel Bridge

Salgina Tobel Brücke

Just outside the village of Schiers where I’m staying is a World Monument – The Salginatobel Bridge. It isn’t UNESCO World Heritage protected as I had originally thought but is specially recognised and has been awarded the honour of being an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

Bridge sign

It is little used but has a fascinating history as it looks like a very modern bridge but in fact was built and opened in 1930/31. Robert Maillart, the Swiss engineer whose company won the contract to build the connection over the 90m gorge, was a pioneer in the use of reinforced concrete and this bridge is an outstanding example of his work.

Salgina bridge walk

I did come across it by accident on one of my walks but at the weekend friends drove me up to it again to get a better look at it and to visit the viewing platform which I had missed previously.

Bridge map

Map showing Schiers and The Bridge

bridge 3

bridge 2


Upon Eckington Bridge

Eckington Bridge

My friend Simon, who is always stuck-in-a-book, grew up in Eckington in Worcestershire and recently mentioned to me a poem called Upon Eckington Bridge by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch.


by: A.T. Quiller-Couch

PASTORAL heart of England! like a psalm
Of green days telling with a quiet beat–
O wave into the sunset flowing calm!
O tirèd lark descending on the wheat!
Lies it all peace beyond the western fold
Where now the lingering shepherd sees his star
Rise upon Malvern? Paints an Age of Gold
Yon cloud with prophecies of linkèd ease–
Lulling this Land, with hills drawn up like knees,
To drowse beside her implements of war?

Man shall outlast his battles. They have swept
Avon from Naseby Field to Savern Ham;
And Evesham’s dedicated stones have stepp’d
Down to the dust with Montfort’s oriflamme.
Nor the red tear nor the reflected tower
Abides; but yet these elegant grooves remain,
Worn in the sandstone parapet hour by hour
By labouring bargemen where they shifted ropes;
E’en so shall men turn back from violent hopes
To Adam’s cheer, and toil with spade again.

Ay, and his mother Nature, to whose lap
Like a repentant child at length he hies,
Nor in the whirlwind or the thunder-clap
Proclaims her more tremendous mysteries:
But when in winter’s grave, bereft of light,
With still, small voice divinelier whispering
–Lifting the green head of the aconite,
Feeding with sap of hope the hazel-shoot–
She feels God’s finger active at the root,
Turns in her sleep, and murmurs of the Spring.

‘Upon Eckington Bridge, River Avon’ is reprinted from An Anthology of Modern Verse. Ed. A. Methuen. London: Methuen & Co., 1921.

So I thought it would interesting, as I was staying a few days in nearby Tewkesbury, to have a look at this bridge and take a few photos. Due to traffic problems and road closures yesterday my only chance was to take a diversion from my journey home and check it out this morning, en route for Leeds.

Eckington Bridge was built in 1728 of local sandstone and is a scheduled monument, enjoying a Grade II listing. I like Q-C’s references to the countryside and to battles and man outlasting his battles and returning to the land. There is nothing too dramatic about the landscape of Worcestershire but again it isn’t dull and flat and featureless. Man has definitely had a hand in shaping it. No barges passed down the river as I stood on its bank today and I’m afraid I wasn’t sufficiently brave enough to stand on the bridge’s parapets.

Bredon Hill

Bredon Hill, near Eckington

When I arrived at the deserted car park and picnic site by the River Avon I risked frostbite to take a few snaps and life and limb to cross the road to see the bridge from both sides! I’m sure on a warm summer’s day when folk are picnicking and messing about on the river its a divine spot. Quite frankly a couple of minutes were enough and I soon leapt back into the car to make way along various motorways home.

Simon, these pictures are for you!

Information board

A three-and-a-half mile walk is recommended – for a warmer day, perhaps?

River Avon and Bridge

That water looks pretty chilly!

Bredon Hill and River

River Avon and Bredon Hill

Canoe Launch

Canoe Launch and Walks

Other side

The Bridge from the ‘other’ side