The house at Weston Park was first envisaged by Elizabeth Mytton in 1651. She designed the house using Palladio’s book of architecture as her guide. Her daughter Mary married to the 2nd Earl of Bradford who began the collections of tapestries, fine art, and porcelain now on show in the house.
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Modifications and changes were made to the house by the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th earls. The east wing, orangery, loggia, dining room, and salons were added. The library, drawing room and tapestry room were changed.
Sir Henry Bridgeman, a later owner, commissioned ‘Capability’ Brown to landscape the park which now consists of 1000 acres, once part of a medieval deer forest. A Roman bridge and Temple of Diana viewed from the yew arch (1760) were added by architect James Paine. Terraces, the Italian garden, and a five acre kitchen garden were later additions.
In the 19th century more than 38,000 trees were planted. A Victorian orangery was established, and a pool, walk, new terraces, and tower (1883) were added. A sunken Italian garden was created in 1989.
From the upper terrace there is a view of the south facing formal gardens, laid out in Victorian times. They are separated from the park by a ha-ha constructed in 1765-66. Here are seasonal bedding plants—winter pansies, pink and blue petunias, and white alyssum. A rose garden, tulip tree, magnolia, and long border planted with lavender complete the picture. Roses include the ballerina, little white pet, and the fairy. There are shrubs with pink or blue flowers and red flowering sedum. At the east end of the long border the colour theme is yellow-orange with the roses Graham Thomas and sweet dreams. Elder, hosta, and iris are west end highlights.
The rose garden, box edged, is a replacement of one previously planted. It is highlighted by a large Victorian stone jardinière, planted with yucca. Roses include silver jubilee, Margaret Merrill, gentle touch, and Greenalls glory.
The Italian garden (broderie) is best viewed from the orangery, added in 1865. It is in a formal parterre pattern planted with a central fountain and clipped balls of box hedge. Here are Mexican orange blossom and mock orange blossom, yew hedging, and a sweet chestnut tree.
The tear drop garden is planted with red, deep pink and yellow roses outlined by santonlina. The rose walk and long wall lead toward the conservatory and church pool. Look for old rambler roses, lavender, and hydrangeas.
The Temple Wood walk, so called because of the temple of Diana located here is part of Weston’s pleasure grounds, designed by ‘Capability’ Brown. Here are native trees and some newer exotic ones. There are beech, rhododendrons, azaleas, cherry, Wellingtonia, a tulip tree, and native yew. Adding to the mix are sweet chestnut, Layson’s cyprus, whitebeam, maples, and a Douglas fir. A longer walk leading toward the boat house in the woods includes hornbeam, oak, Scots pine, cyprus, Chinese rowan, bamboo, and a Japanese cedar. Along the lake on this path are alder, a tulip tree, and a tree of Heaven. There is a small summer house, before the path continues past rhododendrons, azaleas, and a rose to a footbridge. A detour leads to a grove of Redwood Sequoia. A snowdrop tree and silver maple lead to an adventure playground for children.
Weston-under-Lizard, near Shifnal, Shropshire
Tel. 01952 852 100
Open: park and gardens: daily from last week May-first weekend Sep; check website for exact dates each year, 10.30am-6pm, last admission 4.30pm; house, Sun-Fri, 1-5pm, last admission 4.30pm—by guided tour on Tue-Thu
Historic Houses Association member; restaurant and coffee bar; shop; special events; adventure playground; parking
Web: Weston Park
Note: extremely slow loading website
Photos and text © by Barbara Ballard