Nottingham University - The Rock Garden
w/e 01 September 2013
All this week's pictures were taken
with a Kodak DX6490
I was going to start another in the Family Walks
series but as the landscape had changed and we were unable to
follow the correct path to locate a footbridge over a brook we
had to come up with a substitute for this page. So, as it's been
well over a year since our last visit to the University Campus
at Nottingham, we made tracks for there and sought out the Rock
Garden instead. We'll attempt the Family Walk again at a later
We followed the footpath from the main visitor car park passing
the Cripps Medical Centre and approached the Lenton Firs Rock
Garden (to give it its full name) from the left higher up Cripps
Hill from where this image was captured. This view though gives
an overall impression of the Rock Garden and shows how it fits
into the undulating hillside.
From our approach higher up the hill we were faced
with a cliff of Nottingham Castle Sandstone. Much of the underlying
rock in the area is sandstone extending into the city itself
where it comes to the surface again to form the rock on which
Nottingham Castle stands and also is the bedrock under the city
through which the Caves of Nottingham have been formed. In the
other direction it spreads into Derbyshire and can even be found
in Ilkeston where it forms the foundations of the Erewash Museum
and is visible in the basement there.
The garden is named after Lenton Firs, one of the older houses
on the University campus which for many years was situated in
a sycamore wood that contained a derelict summer house. A grant
from the Nottingham Green Partnership in 2006 enabled students
at the University and other volunteers to clear the site of vegetation
to improve the woodland over the next two years, exposing in
the process a rock garden.
The summer house is now the focal point of the garden sitting
at its highest point and when I reached it, I found that someone
had been here before me. A champagne bottle on the shelf and
a glass of what looked like bubbly on the floor left me wondering
whether someone had been celebrating exam results or maybe drowning
their sorrows. What price education though if they leave their
litter for someone else to clean up.
The ascent to the top can be made by several uneven paths that
wind up the hillside to the top. Because of the gradient some
are shorter than others to reach the objective, the shortest
being from the trees behind the garden when viewed from the road.
Here too is a delightful little pool with the water trickling
gently over a waterfall between the rock formations.
From the road side of the garden a longer route up these stone
steps leads to the summer house, originally of Edwardian origin,
which was restored thanks to a generous donation by the University
Various other paths wend their way round the garden between the
plants which occupy the spaces between and flow over blocks of
Lenton Firs (the house) and the garden were once owned by the
local brewing family of Shipstone's and is said to have been
known as the Chinese Garden but little more has been learned
from research into the garden except that a synthetic composite
around the pool and waterfall suggest that the nineteenth century
firm of Pulman and Son may have been involved in its construction.
Since its restoration, the Rock Garden has become another pleasant
and quiet, restful place in the University and having already
visited the Millennium Garden, the Old Botanic Garden, the Walled
Garden, various formal displays and the Vale of Tears previously,
this is another on the campus that we can cross off the list.
I'm sure there are more yet to be discovered and explored ....