Known locally as 'The Maze' or 'The Secret Garden', Walkden Gardens has for too long been a closely guarded secret. Modelled on the famous Hidcote garden in Gloucestershire, there are many similarities. Long alleys with vistas, a series of smaller garden ‘rooms’ and the unique and beautifully proportioned Theatre Lawn – a large enclosed space, comprising auditorium, raised mound and baffle hedge, that can seat up to 500 people.
This beautiful and varied garden also includes a fuchsia garden, beech circle, conifer garden, wisteria arch and a tranquil Japanese Garden.
Situated at Sale, the gardens cover just over 5 acres and have held the prestigeous Green Flag Award for several years.
The gardens take their name from Harry Walkden, who owned and ran a plant nursery 'Moorside Nurseries' on the present site, the land passed to Sale Borough Council on his death in 1949 with the wish that it be used for the public good; preferably laid out as a park, pleasure ground or botanical gardens.
A favourite of wedding photographers, the wisteria arch at Walkden Gardens is over seventy foot long and looks stunning in May.
The tranquil Japanese Garden is an attempt to create the feel of a garden as it might be seen in Japan, using design ideas commonly used in the Japanese garden tradition. The garden is divided into three areas, each with distinctive characteristics. Archways and see-through bamboo screens separate these areas, giving the viewer the sense of passing from one space to the next by walking through the archways.
The grade II listed Dovecote at Walkden stood originally within the grounds of Sale Old Hall, which was demolished in the 1920s. The dovecote is used regularly, most recently for arts workshops, exhibition space, serving cream teas and ice creams.
The Dovecot and the herbacous border
Entrance to the gardens is free.