The Park and full estate of Chatsworth is incredibly large and I feel like it would be impossible if not, incredibly tiring to do in one day. The estate is home to sheep, cattle, and red and fallow deer. It also houses a working farm and a playground that you can visit although we stuck with our house and garden ticket; which I am so glad of now given the size of the estate and the fact that it was the half term when we visited. As we only visited the house and the garden, I’m only going to touch on the parts of the formal garden and grounds that we visited but I must point out that there is so much more to Chatsworth than what you’ll see here. In the entirety of the estate grounds, I’m probably only going to touch on maybe 40% of all that it has to offer, and that’s not including the ever-changing sculptures that are showcased in the grounds.
Extravagant formal gardens were very much in fashion through France, Holland, and Italy by 1687, and it was around this time that the 1st Duke of Devonshire began to make changes to the garden to match the palatial changes he was making to the house. In 1694, the South Lawn began being worked by George London and Henry Wise, who also worked on Hampton Court Palace (clearly he had a niche). The South Lawn became a symmetrical layout with flower beds, formal hedges and shrubbery all lined up by neat gravel paths. The focal point for the lawn then became a circular pool that housed a fountain of four sea horses and a triton, which still remains central of the South Lawn. This fountain was carved by Caius Gabriel Cibber between 1688-1691 and is one of only two Baroque fountains that have survived from the original nine that once stood in the garden.
Like with the house, a lot of change seems to have come from the 6th Duke of Devonshire and his influence. When he inherited Chatsworth in 1811, the garden was in a state of neglect but it weren’t until he employed John Paxton (1803-1865) as head gardener that the garden started to be revitalised into the beauty that it would later become and remain today.
After seeing all that the house had to offer, we were frazzled. We needed to rest and take a load off so we headed to the stables. The stables were originally built between 1758-1766, as part of the 4th Dukes vision to re landscape and naturalise the park. Originally it had the capacity for eighty horses and the stables were kitted out with a blacksmiths shop, shoeing space, and harness rooms. The stables today hold a cafe, restaurant and tea room as well as a gift shop. This was where we took a load off, ate some wildly overpriced food and did some much-needed rehydration before setting off to explore the garden.
Originally built in between 1693-1695, Flora’s Temple was once a bowling house and was elsewhere on the estate until 1750 when it was moved. The statue of Flora was sculpted by Caius Gabriel Cibber in 1750. The temple also houses two Camellia Reticulata ‘Captain Rawes’, named after the captain himself who brought the first plant to England in 1820. Both of these grew in the case before dying of old age in 2000 and 2002. The two Camellia’s growing in the case today were propagated from the original plants in 1988.
The Case acts as a protective layer for the more tender and vulnerable plants to grow inside. Running alongside the length of the Conservative Wall, spanning about 300 feet and is wired with a host of hot-water pipes which were designed by Paxton in 1838. The pipes sustain the temperature during the winter months and unpredictable spells of weather, and houses peaches, apricots and nectarines.
Built around 1834, the Vinery also known as Paxton’s Glasshouse, is the only survivor out of three houses like it. Specifically constructed by Paxton for orchids, it contained a variety of outstanding plants collected from across the globe by the 6th Duke and Paxton. Today it houses white peaches, camellia, and Royal Horticultural society prize winning dessert grapes vitis ‘Muscat of Alexandria’.
The Display Greenhouse
Built in 1970, this greenhouse has three climate zones: Mediterranean, Temperate and Tropical. You can walk through the Temperate and Mediterranean zones but the tropical is closed off to the public, to better retain its heat and humidity but oh my, the tropical zone really peaked my interest. Maybe it’s the fact that we could see through to it but not going in and I do think we all have that natural capacity to be nosey – I’m convinced that’s why reality shows are such hits! But I did also want to wander through the lush greenery that seemed almost wild and overgrown, and enjoy those huge lily pads on the waters surface –which reminded me of the video game it takes two.
I will leave that there for now as there is much more I want to touch on still and loooads more photos to share too so stay tuned!
*If you haven’t caught up with all the Chatsworth posts, you can do that here.
Cheerio for now!