Cheshire Wandering (2) Acton Bridge and Dutton Locks

After the epic tour of Tatton Park, the girls decided that they needed some retail therapy. As this is definitely not my thing, I dropped them off at the Cheshire Oaks retail park and took off to explore a little.

My original plan was to visit the canal and quayside at Preston Brook. Unfortunately, there didn’t appear to be anywhere for me to park, legally. So, I had to wander a little further afield.

Which is how I found myself visiting Acton Bridge.

Acton Bridge

Acton Bridge, Cheshire

The Acton Swing Bridge spans the River Weaver in the village of Acton Bridge in north Cheshire, England. First operated in 1933, it carries the A49 trunk road.

From the Acton Swing Bridge I decided to walk along the river to Dutton Locks, a distance of about 1.3 miles. According to Google it would take approximately 25 minutes. Of course that doesn’t allow for someone carrying a camera and prone to many stops to capture that essential shot. Or to listen to the birds singing. And there were a lot of birds singing.

After a very enjoyable stroll I reached the area of the locks.

Dutton Locks

A pair of locks, dating from around 1874. Built for the Weaver Navigation Co. The locks are large enough to take sea going ships and have semaphore signals to control entry.

Close to the locks is a sunken boat, the ‘Chica’. Apparently, in its prime, it used to be a hotel boat.

After a pleasant chat with a representative of the Canal and River Trust it was time to head back to my car and go to pick up the girls. As I hadn’t taken any water with me I was gagging for a drink. So I picked them up and we headed home for, in my opinion, a well earned cup of tea.

Cheshire Wandering (1) Tatton Park

Last week my wife and I took a trip up to the Wirral, to visit the outlaws. My wifes sister, our niece and her daughter. As we always do on such visits, we like to do the touristy thing and go on days out, to visit some stately pile, gardens or perhaps country views.

On this occasion, our first trip out, was to Tatton Park.

The Mansion at Tatton Park

Tatton Park is an historic estate in Cheshire, England, north of the town of Knutsford. It contains a mansion – Tatton Hall, a medieval manor house – Tatton Old Hall, Tatton Park Gardens, a farm and a deer park of some 2,000 acres.

On our arrival we came across these vehicles. Apparently there was to be a fair in the park over the weekend. These were just some of the support trucks for the various fairground rides.

These are the heavy haulers that I used to see on the roads when I was a kid.

There is a lot of ground to cover at Tatton Park. Before exploring we popped into The Stables for a bite to eat. The weather, being kind, allowed us to eat al fresco. Although that was a dubious honour as we were kept under constant observation by the resident Jackdaws.

These guys were not shy. It wasn’t quite like a scene from Hitchcocks “The Birds” but they certainly had plans for us, or rather our food. It wasn’t long before one of our observers made a high speed run and stole a chip from our plate whilst we were still eating. I noticed that they were selective too. They had no interest in the salad stuff left on an adjacent table. They did inspect it, but then went back to trying to intimidate us into leaving our sausage and chips.

Suitably fuelled up we headed out into the grounds, looking for the Japanese and Italian gardens. En-route we passed through this tranquil lawned area.

Still en-route, the signs lead us down to the Golden Brook Pits area. Tranquil waters surrounded by Rhodedendrons and Azaleas.

Eventually we did reach the Japanese Garden, very peaceful and beautiful…

Strolling round the grounds is very relaxing and ones senses are overwhelmed with the sights, scents and the sounds of bird song that greet you round every turn.

But there is more to Tatton than just the great outdoors. Heading back up to the mansion we wander into the Orangery, Fernery and the Victorian Glasshouses. Here there are actually Oranges, Lemons, various varieties of Grapes and Strawberries ready for picking.

From these fabulous structures we headed over to the Italian Gardens. To be honest we found them to be a little disappointing. Maybe it was the wrong season or, maybe, the scale seemed out of keeping with the rest of the grounds.

As is typical of our wanderings, we were too late to enter the mansion. This ensures that we will have to return to complete our tour. If you are ever in the vicinity I would recommend that you spare the time to visit. Having said that, we spent nearly five hours here and still failed to see it all.

To finish off our visit, we had a cream tea in the Gardeners Cottage Tea Rooms.

Lovely !!!

Sculpture Park Pleasure

Last Saturday we spent a fabulous few hours, with friends, exploring this sculpture park at Churt in Surrey.

The park comprises some 650 modern and contemporary sculptures displayed throughout ten acres of arboretum and water gardens. To do it justice you really need to have 360 degree vision as you explore the various trails. Not only that, but you also have to remember to look up into the trees as the owners of the park have done a marvelous job, secreting many of the exhibits above ones head or within the shrubs and bushes.

The following photos reflect just a subset of the exhibits on view. Where possible, I have added the name of the piece and that of its creator.


As you can see there is a huge variety of styles. Many of the sculptures are totally surreal and many are just beautiful. All provoke thought and some, even with the aid of the guide book, are just plain confusing. Sometimes you need to look behind an exhibit to understand what is going on. They are not always what they seem ….

The following is my own particular favourite …… beautiful.

Paraiso (Paradise) by Rafael Miranda San Juan
Paraiso (Paradise)

Throughout the park there was a recurring humorous theme …… these guys kept popping up, putting a smile on our faces even when theirs were looking a little manic.

And finally, whatever else is said about this park, it’s certainly larger than life.

Oh, and remember, many of these pieces are available to buy…… get your wallets out.