Walton Hall Gardens
OS grid ref:- SJ 600 849
Walton Hall Gardens, situated to the south west of Warrington, was originally part of a much larger country estate, purchased in 1812 by the famous Greenall brewing family.
The hall dates from the 1830's although built in Elizabethan style. It was designed by the Gothic revival architect Edmund Sharpe. The hall features an ornate stained glass window, oak panelling, high gilded ceilings and an impressive sweeping staircase lined with Victorian paintings. The handsome clock tower adjacent to the hall was added in the 1870's. The estate was bought by Warrington Borough Council in 1941. In the 1970s the building underwent extensive renovations which followed many years of disuse, although it still retains much of its Victoria character.The hall is not open to the general public but can be booked for private functions.
The well kept mature parkland and ornamental gardens remain beautiful throughout the year, with trees and shrubs from all over the world. The Gardens, which have been open to the public since 1945, have spacious lawns, picnic areas, crazy golf, a well appointed play area and a children's zoo containing a variety of colourful birds and animals and a red squirrel breeding programme. There is also an interesting heritage centre which covers natural history, the history of the Walton Estate and Greenall family and Lewis Carroll and his connections with Walton Hall and has a gift shop and coffee shop.
The landscaped gardens, which contain a large pond replete with koi carp and waterfall are particularly beautiful in the spring and contain a superb collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, conifers and flowering shrubs and acer palmatum. Designed by Gilbert Greenhall and Lady Daresbury in 1876, who attempted to create a miniature Kew Gardens. There is also an attractive formal rose garden. The herbaceous boarders are a mass of Hosta’s, Anemone, Asphodeline, Dierama, Penstemon, Aconitum, Bergina, Heuchera, Anthemis, Cimcifuga, Tradescantia and many many more. The Easy Access garden has raised aromatic beds and wheelchair-accessible picnic benches.
The grounds are a haven for wildlife, including squirrels, weasel, nuthatches, tree creepers and woodpeckers. Evening visitors include bats, foxes and owls. There are waymarked footpaths to local areas of interest such as Hill Cliffe, Appleton Reservoir and the Bridgewater Canal.