Croxteth Park, 17th September 2023

Heritage Open Days gave us a treat: not only was Croxteth Hall open, but also the old walled garden, which used to provide flowers, fruit and vegetables for the Great House. An old photo on display showed a posed group of 28 gardeners about 100 years ago. Now there are only the students from Myerscough College to keep it under minimal control. Some areas had been tidied up for the occasion, but most are very overgrown.


One old bed had been planted some years ago by the Henry Doubleday Research Association to save traditional vegetables. This patch was also badly overgrown but there may still be some gems hidden under the wildness.

The dilapidated greenhouses hold a remnant of the Liverpool Botanical Collection, which was founded by William Roscoe in 1802 and long kept in Calderstones Park. It was one of the oldest botanical collections in the world. The radical local government of Derek Hatton had the Calderstones greenhouses demolished, and the botanical collection was broken up. Some of the remnants are now here but not on display.

There were a couple of well-tended beds of bright pink Dahlias, variety ‘Fascination’. They were hugely attractive to insects, and most of the open flowers had two bees competing for the pollen.  We also spotted a new-looking Red Admiral butterfly and a day-flying moth, too quick to catch on camera, which was grey-white, broader than deep, and possibly one of the carpet or wave moths in the geometrid group.

After lunch we toured the house, from the wine cellar and the old kitchens, to the drawing room and the Earl and Countess’s bedrooms. The volunteer in charge of the huge pedigree scroll of the Earls of Sefton, which was laid out on a table, was diverted to talk about the estate’s wildlife. He said there were now lots of Ring-necked Parakeets, which he had seen competing with Jackdaws for tree holes. As we made our way out along the main drive we saw some of the interlopers in the trees, being mobbed by Crows.   

Public transport details: Bus 13 from Queen Square at 10.03, arriving Mill Lane / West Derby Village at 10.25.  Returned on bus 13 from Mill Lane / Town Row at 2.58, arriving City Centre at 3.22.

This entry was posted in Sunday Group. Bookmark the permalink.