The Magical Gardens of Bonsall is the name used for marketing purposes to publicise the Bonsall Open Gardens weekend. The name is certainly appropriate; I went with my support worker and we saw grottoes, cascades, a temple, a waterfall, statues of gods and goddesses, scarecrows, romantic ruins...and we briefly explored an old mine adit.
Before reaching Bonsall we called off at the Peak Shopping Village at Rowsley to use the toilets. I noticed there was a sale at one of the shops selling outdoor clothing, I bought a couple of Gelert lined fleeces for a tenner...a saving of 80%.
We stopped for sandwiches a few minutes later at the car park above Birchover and arrived at Bonsall at just after midday; we were advised to park the car on the road just opposite to the public toilets...a handy spot in the centre of the village.
Our day out at Bonsall was very good value at £4 each, there were over thirty gardens to see, including the show gardens at 'The Cascades.' On certain days throughout the summer these gardens are open to the public and the usual cost of admission is £5...so we certainly got a bargain today.
The gardens at The Cascades were the first gardens we visited and I was really looking forward to this, assuming it would be the highlight of the day. I was quite disappointed though, both myself and Siobhan thought the gardens were rather neglected - there were several private gardens in the village which we much preferred.
The most interesting thing that happened here was the rather drunk owner, swaying as he approached us with a pint of beer in his hand being quite insistent that we go deep into the mine...we only set foot a few yards inside, there's nothing in there to see...it's pitch black. By the way, a couple of hours later, further up the hill, we were greeted by another tipsy resident.
We then went on to explore the rest of the village, stopping of at the church for tea and cake and also sitting in someone's conservatory, drinking tea as we were told about some of the local characters, past and present.
Bonsall is a hilly village; I have never climbed up and down so many steps in my entire life...literally hundreds of them. As we were climbing up some particularly steep steps Siobhan and myself were agreeing that although there were a lot of steps to climb a fortnight ago when we visited Birchover Open Gardens there were a lot more today. I commented that compared to Bonsall, Birchover was a pussycat. Someone else in the garden overheard me and said that compared to Whatstandwell, Bonsall is a pussycat.
I'm now going to search for images of Whatstandwell online.