Biddulph Grange was laid out between 1837 and 1869 by James Bateman, the son of a local iron-founder with assistance from E. W. Cooke a marine artist specialising in rockwork scenes. Bateman was a plant collector and the gardens were laid out as a series of self-contained compartments separated from one another by dramatic rockwork formations. Each compartment had its own micro-climate suitable for growing some of the first introductions of exotic species of rhododendrons, ferns, conifers and other plants into the United Kingdom. The gardens contain a large number of architectural follies, each appropriate to the planting theme around them but cleverly positioned at the point of transition from one area to the next so as to create a visual or sensual surprise. At the centre is China, approached through a rocky tunnel from The Glen into the Chinese Temple which overlooks a small pool, or downhill through The Stumpery past the Prospect Tower and Great Wall. Beyond China but invisible from it is the Pinetum, a circular walk containing one of the finest mid19th century collections of conifers. This terminates in the Cheshire Cottage through which a tunnel leads into the Egyptian Court flanked by stone sphinxes. Other notable features of the garden are the lime avenue, the Dahlia Walk (recreated by the National Trust in the 1980s), the Arboretum, Wellingtonia Avenue and Obelisk Walk.
The wider parkland beyond the formal gardens was part of Bateman’s layout is now a country park under separate management. It contains rock-cut walks alongside tumbling streams through woodland and a lake which served as a fire-fighting reservoir for the house.
District: STAFFORDSHIRE MOORLANDS
Postcode: ST8 7SD
Ownership: NATIONAL TRUST (Gardens); STAFFORDSHIRE MOORLANDS
DISTRICT COUNCIL (Country Park)
Status: GRADE I CONSERVATION AREA.
Access: Open to public
Links: National Trust; Staffordshire Moorlands District Council