Gardeners turn back the clock at Cragside's Ivy Bridge

The National Trust has been replanting a picturesque bridge at Cragside to restore its original look

Dale Stevens, right, placing one of the pots on the bridge at Cragside
Dale Stevens, right, placing one of the pots on the bridge at Cragside

A bridge will be in bloom again this year as part of a project to revisit its past.

The Ivy Bridge, which crosses the Debdon Burn, at the National Trust’s Cragside estate in Northumberland was designed for plant pots to be inserted across its span.

But the recesses have been standing empty for some time.

The National Trust asked visitors to help plant seasonal pots to be displayed on the bridge for the first time in many years.

The project is part of National Gardening Week during which Cragside has hosted a series of walks, talks and activities celebrating the magic of gardens.

The recesses in the Cragside bridge are once again filled with plant pots
The recesses in the Cragside bridge are once again filled with plant pots

Cragside assistant head gardener Dale Stevens said: “It’s great to celebrate National Gardening week at Cragside and it’s a wonderful opportunity to share our gardens and hopefully inspire and encourage people to try their hand at gardening at home”

“I’m especially excited as this year we’re offering visitors an opportunity to be part of something that hasn’t been done at Cragside for a long time.”

When Cragside was the home of Lord Armstrong, the sides of the bridge were covered in clipped ivy which made a green arch in the landscape

The nooks across the bridge would then have been used to take seasonal pot plants.

Dale said :“It would have been planted with colourful foliage and flowers and would really enhance the walk over to the formal gardens throughout the year for the Armstrongs. “We are going to be planting it with different ivy and all things colourful. I can’t wait to see the finished result.”

An early postcard featuring the Ivy Bridge at Cragside
An early postcard featuring the Ivy Bridge at Cragside

Property curator Andrew Sawyer said: “It is a very significant place in the history of Cragside. “The Ivy Bridge was an important crossing of the Debdon Burn to the Formal Garden from the House in days gone by and it was also a popular route for the Armstrong family to take as they walked to and from their church in Rothbury.

“I’m sure guests would have been surprised and impressed by this unusual floral display among the clipped ivy surrounding the bridge.”

National Gardening Week was launched four years ago by the Royal Horticultural Society and since then it has grown into the country’s biggest celebration of gardening.

Events include today (Saturday) a ranger-led walk from 1.30-3.30pm to explore parts of Cragside that are off the beaten track. Sign up at the shop and meet on the house forecourt.

On Sunday from 11am-3pm visitors can design and create their own miniature garden with the materials provided by Cragside. Cost £2.

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