Have you visited beautiful Prior Park Landscape Garden yet? Here's a list of suprising things you might not know about the National Trust garden, from Visitor Experience Coordinator, Anna Kilcooley.
1. Centuries-Old Graffiti
Everyone knows that our Palladian Bridge is one of only four in the world. But did you know that some of the graffiti on it is over 200 years old? You can spend hours searching the finely etched names. Which is the oldest you have found?
2. Inquisitive Cows
Resident cows often come from a local farmer and help us keep the grass down in the pasture. They’re very curious and will come up and give you a sniff if you walk through.
3. A Birdwatching Haven
There is an amazing array of nature in the garden. We have a family of buzzards, a heron who visits the dam every morning, a kingfisher who darts around in a flash of electric blue and a few woodpeckers!
4. A Curious Thatched Cottage
Next to our ice house is the site of a thatched cottage. Nobody knows its full story, or quite what it was used for. We’re currently undertaking research into its history and speaking to architects to work towards recreating this curious building.
5. The Perfect Setting For a Proposal
People propose nearly every weekend at Prior Park! Our Palladian bridge provides the perfect setting. We’ve also had lots of these happy couples come back to have their wedding photos taken in the garden.
6. Great Gardeners
We only have two full time gardeners here at Prior Park, and between the two of them they have been working for us for 40 years! They have a wonderful team of volunteers, some of whom have been working in Prior Park since the garden opened in the 1990s.
7. Have Your Cake...
As with all National Trust places, we take our cake very seriously. Which is why we hold regular cake tasting sessions to make sure they’re tip top standard!
8. A Seagull's Dream
The UK has an issue with an invasive species of crayfish. They compete for food and carry fungal diseases which kill the native species. However, one seagull is on the case. We have watched him catch crayfish from our lakes, and he then likes to have a tasty shellfish dinner on the dam.
9. Record-Holding Trees
Hidden in the garden is a UK champion. We have the UK’s tallest Norway Maple, which at last measurement stood a full six metres above the previous champion. It’s the size of eight double decker buses!
10. A Top-Secret Ice House
We think our ice house has the most exciting story of any ice house in Britain. In WWII it was stocked with ammunition and other supplies for resistance fighters to use in case of German invasion. It was top secret and even the police didn’t know about it.