If you saw my shabby summerhouse last week, you’ll know that I’m a fan of the Open Garden scheme. Sometimes it throws up a real jewel. It’s a bit of a bus man’s holiday for my husband, but you can always get him to go and look at a garden. Me, I’m just happy to go somewhere new. Not that Cotherstone is new, exactly. We’ve driven by this village en route to Teesdale and the falls beyond, and scarcely noticed it. Discovering that the whole village opened its gardens for charity gave us a golden opportunity to explore.
Map in hand, off we went! There were 15 or more gardens to delight in. You’ll note that we didn’t get very far before the coffee stop, but we’d had a longish drive from home. Looking over the garden wall of The Limes was just too tempting. (and the homemade rhubarb slice was tart and delicious!) A perfect summer’s day, it was easy to sit in the sunshine and smile at the super keen youngsters of the household. They were Sunday smart and performing waiting duties, with impeccable manners.
When I did stir myself, I was gifted a fine zucchini plant, much to my astonishment. Never having mothered such a specimen before, I was a little anxious for its survival, but I’m happy to report that it has since thrived.
The Methodist Chapel was open and I paused long enough to admire the stained glass, and wonder briefly if I should turn my talents to rug making? Back into the sunshine, I dodged a fearsome looking farm machine, before dipping into another garden.
Each garden had its own character. Some manicured to within an inch of their life, others far more casual; one devoted to recycled goods, another fragrant with a nosegay of sweetpeas. Their common factor? A gardener with a smile, and time to chat.
Midway through the village a narrow lane led down towards a river I hadn’t even realised was there. I was about to meet the River Balder, which joins the Tees at this point. On the far shore, a river beach, perfectly sited for cooling tired feet.
It’s an enchanted piece of woodland, leaves dancing in dappled shade over russet waters. The moss covered bridge must surely have been there in Merlin’s time. I followed the Teesdale Way just far enough to satisfy my curiosity, and then retraced my steps. A steep clamber up a stepped path brought us to the top of the village, and what was probably my favourite garden, Glensleigh. Beautifully terraced, the views were far reaching, and the lovely Norwegian owner didn’t seem to mind in the least that a public right of way ran right through her garden.
A bee-keeping demonstration next, the lady keeper, outfitted like a spaceman, fearlessly handling the honeycomb. A glance over the allotment walls- time is pressing on! I’ve lost count of the number of gardens we’ve seen.
Back on the main street, we were offered a celebratory prosecco, and took 10 minutes to admire the owner’s beautifully presented patio. I can’t say that this is common practise at Open Gardens, but it was very much appreciated on a warm day.
On the village green children were dangling toes in the stream and eating icecreams. Just a few more visits. Opposite the magnificent church an aged gentleman sat on a bench in his lovely small patch and exchanged pleasantries. He’d never left his home county. ‘Why would he?’ his gentle smile seemed to say. In the stream at the bottom of his garden, two American crayfish seemed content to end their wanderings too. Wouldn’t you?
While looking for a few facts about Cotherstone, I came upon this 6 mile circular walk from the Fox and Hounds at West Green. It covers some of our outing today. Next time I’ll go looking for the ‘fairy cupboards’.
Apologies to anyone whose walk I haven’t included here today. I’ve scheduled the post because I’m up on the Northumbrian coast for our anniversary, and I haven’t got my laptop. They’ll appear in next week’s walk- promise! Meanwhile, please do read and enjoy….
My nautical friend, Drake, shares a mutual passion – water!
I can’t keep up with Jackie! Can you? Wonder what’s to eat?
How about Niagara, looking floral and lovely, with Alice :
Some very personal memories shared by Artfulinguist :
Not something I associate with beautiful Norway, but Rupali has set me straight :
Nowhere better than our very own Lake District, with Melodie :
I’m home at teatime (earlier if the weather misbehaves too badly ) so I’ll catch up with you all then, if not sooner. Have a great week!