WIN­TER WALKS

Macclesfield Express - - LEISURE - HAN­NAH STEPHEN­SON

TOO much tur­key, stuff­ing, Christ­mas pud and choco­lates? Now’s the time to don warm coats, hats, scarves and gloves and go for a win­ter walk.

Pub­lic gar­dens give gar­den­ers in­spi­ra­tion for the sea­sons ahead, and show ev­ery­one that beau­ti­ful flora and fauna can be found at all times of year.

Here are five Bri­tish gar­dens which of­fer a wealth of amaz­ing win­ter plant­ing rang­ing from witch hazel and dog­wood to snowdrops, honey­suckle and sil­ver birch. 1. An­gle­sey Abbey, Cam­bridgeshire

Catkins of the Gar­rya el­lip­tica (silk-tas­sel bush) in the win­ter walk at An­gle­sey Abbey (Rod Ed­wards/Na­tional Trust Im­ages/PA)

De­signed specif­i­cally with plants that give win­ter colour, tex­ture and fra­grance, the gar­den at An­gle­sey Abbey is alive and vi­brant dur­ing the cold months.

Dis­cover bright yel­low and red dog­woods and the pol­ished bark of the Ti­betan cherry. En­joy the scent of win­ter flow­er­ing honey­suckle float­ing in the breeze and look out for the slen­der white trunks of the Hi­malayan sil­ver birch grove. Af­ter­wards, set out along easy foot­paths to ex­plore the wind­ing fen­land land­scapes and wide open skies. 2. Bod­nant Gar­den, Conwy, North Wales

With colour­ful and fra­grant plants, Bod­nant’s win­ter gar­den bright­ens up even the cold­est of days. Dis­cover coloured­stemmed birches, bright berge­nias and bulbs such as snowdrops, iris, cy­cla­men and cro­cus. En­joy the scent of win­ter shrubs such as hamamelis, daphne and sar­co­cocca.

Take a walk up through Fur­nace Wood and you’ll be re­warded with panoramic vis­tas over the gar­den. 3. RHS Gar­den Hyde Hall, Es­sex

The new Win­ter Gar­den at RHS Gar­den Hyde Hall cel­e­brates the de­lights of win­ter, with its mul­ti­tude of radiant stem colours, peel­ing barks, lu­mi­nous leaf colours and daz­zling berries. Cop­piced wil­low sculpted into in­ter­est­ing shapes cap­ture the imag­i­na­tion, and there is a vast ar­ray of win­ter in­ter­est, stark skele­tal shapes and stun­ning sil­hou­ettes.

The gar­den also in­cludes a trial of al­most 50 cul­ti­vars of cor­nus, in­clud­ing the bright red stems of Cor­nus alba ‘Sibir­ica’ and the rarer Cor­nus alba ‘Ruby’. 4. Dunham Massey, Cheshire

The Dunham Massey win­ter gar­den is the largest of its kind in the UK. Take a win­ter stroll to see strik­ing white-stemmed sil­ver birch and bright dog­wood barks as well as colour­ful berries and win­ter flow­ers.

Be­neath the trees, thou­sands of bulbs spring to life over the cold sea­son, in­clud­ing snowdrops, white cy­cla­men and strik­ing blue win­ter irises.

Out in the wider park­land you can dis­cover Dunham’s col­lec­tion of vet­eran trees, which have weath­ered many win­ters and look set to con­tinue. 5. The Her­mitage, Perthshire

This na­ture re­serve pro­tected by the Na­tional Trust for Scot­land is a mag­i­cal Perthshire for­est-turned-win­ter­won­der­land at this time of year. Home to some of the UK’s largest trees, take a walk through the tow­er­ing Dou­glas firs and gaze over the beau­ti­ful Black Linn Falls, where spray from the surg­ing river cre­ates beau­ti­ful shim­mer­ing ice crys­tals across the sur­round­ing rocks and trees, leav­ing one of the most fan­tas­ti­cal sights of the sea­son that Scot­land can of­fer.

Stroll along the banks of the River Braan and you may see snow chutes cre­ated by ot­ters as they slide into the wa­ter on their bel­lies. Also, keep an eye out for the totem pole hid­den in the woods and red squir­rels dart­ing about in the tree tops.

Dunham Massey in win­ter

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