GILPIN HOTEL GARDEN ROUTE
GILPIN HOTEL GARDEN ROUTE

WANDER, WONDER AND ENJOY

Embark on a serene journey through the enchanting garden route at Gilpin Hotel. Meandering through our meticulously curated landscape, this trail invites you to explore a tapestry of natural beauty around the property.  Whether you seek a peaceful stroll or a delightful discovery, the garden route at Gilpin Hotel promises an unforgettable experience amidst nature’s splendour. With numerous spots to sit and relax, why not order a delicious sandwich, take a book, and enjoy the beauty of Gilpin Hotel?  Our garden route offers the perfect setting for a leisurely stroll, where you can savour the tranquillity and natural splendour at your own pace. Whether you choose a cosy bench by the orchard or a peaceful nook by the tarn, every moment spent in our gardens is a delightful escape from the everyday.

Gilpin’s Garden Route stretches around the property and takes a minimum of 30 minutes to walk. Please wear comfortable walking shoes, as the route traverses some rocky and possibly muddy terrain. This ensures you can fully enjoy the scenic beauty and numerous points of interest along the way.

1 - GARDEN TRAIL START

At the Tatton flower show, Barney Cunliffe was captivated by the magnificent copper tree and couldn’t resist acquiring it for the hotel, spending around £15,000. The tree instantly stole his heart. Over the past few years, it has proven to be a worthwhile investment, as it has become a source of fascination and gained widespread popularity on social media platforms. 

Standing proudly against the wall of Gilpin Spice are two majestic Cedar of Lebanon pines, known as Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca Pendula’ or Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar Trees. Their gracefully drooping branches have become a topic of conversation among visitors. Many people are enchanted by the tree’s ethereal and ghostly appearance, often remarking upon it.

2 - GILPIN SPICE

The building was built in 2010 and Gilpin Spice opened in 2017.

At the entrance of Gilpin Spice, you’ll encounter four meticulously pruned cloud conifers, a sight that only undergoes pruning once a year. Adjacent to them, on the right side, you’ll discover two serene ponds adorned with various aquatic plants. These elements are thoughtfully designed to harmonise with the Asian-inspired theme of Gilpin Spice restaurant.

Above Gilpin Spice is our Spa Space at Gilpin Hotel which opened at the end of 2022.  The Spa Space at Gilpin Hotel creates a sensory journey with naturally scented and textured wall coverings and our highly trained therapists provide a variety of treatments allowing for a perfect spa experience. 

As you explore the enchanting Gilpin Spice Garden, prepare to be captivated by the presence of an extraordinary Crinodendron hookerianum, commonly known as the Chile lantern tree. This exquisite specimen showcases lantern-shaped crimson flowers that elegantly dangle from its long branches, enchanting observers from late spring to late summer. These delightful blooms emerge from the flower buds formed in autumn, persist throughout the winter, and then gracefully swell in early spring, transforming into beautiful cherry lanterns that exude an irresistible charm.

As you make your way along the pathway leading to the Gilpin Hotel Reception, an eye-catching Choisya ternata ‘Sundance’ awaits on the right side, gracing the surroundings with its fragrant white flowers that bloom in late spring. 

On the left side, you will encounter magnificent Mahonia shrubs boasting impressive clusters or spikes of fragrant, bright yellow flowers during the winter to early spring season. These lovely blooms are followed by juicy-looking purple-to-black berries that appear in autumn. Additionally, you’ll notice a mature ivy plant in the vicinity. If you observe closely at the base, you’ll see its juvenile leaves, characterised by the commonly recognised leaf shape. As the ivy matures, the leaves transform, becoming un-lobed, and the growth takes on a shrubby form. During autumn, the ivy blooms with flowers, and its berries ripen over winter and into the following spring or early summer.

3 - ROCKERY

As you stroll towards the main hotel, you will encounter an area on the left known as the Rockery. Currently, the Rockery is an ongoing project, with the rocks being sourced directly from the Gilpin property during previous construction, excavations, and renovations. The intention is to expand the Rockery from its entrance and extend it around the front of Gilpin Spice. 

Throughout 2024 / 2025, the project will see the addition of ferns and various other plants, further enhancing its natural beauty and charm.

4 - SOURCE AT GILPIN HOTEL CORNER

As you make your way towards the main entrance of the hotel, your attention will be drawn to a magnificent and ancient Rhododendron on the right side, emerging gracefully from the rocks. This impressive specimen blossoms in a deep burgundy-red hue, enchanting onlookers from late April to June. It holds significant botanical importance as the national flower of Nepal, the state flower of Washington and West Virginia in the United States, the state flower of Nagaland in India, the provincial flower of Jiangxi in China, and the state tree of Sikkim and Uttarakhand in India (according to Wikipedia).

In front of the SOURCE at Gilpin Hotel kitchen, a captivating moss garden awaits, inspired by the diverse array of mosses found across the Gilpin & Lake House properties. This serene space showcases the beauty of these delicate plants. 

As you approach the hotel’s entrance, take a moment to appreciate the pots filled with seasonal plantings. Among them, you’ll find a remarkable deep purple shrub called Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Tom Thumb.’ While it may not bloom abundantly, clusters of tiny red-black flowers occasionally emerge in late spring to early summer, releasing a delightful sweet honey scent into the air. The new growth of this shrub appears pale green, creating a striking contrast against the deep purple leaves. 

Before descending the stairs towards the White Garden, be sure to cast your gaze upon the Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Black Tulip’ located on the right. This captivating variety showcases cup-shaped flowers in a deep pink, almost burgundy hue, blooming in early spring. These stunning blooms are followed by glossy green, large oval leaves, adding to the visual allure. 

On the left side, you’ll encounter an island adorned with a delightful variety of Japanese Maples (Acer palmatum), each showcasing unique leaf patterns and shades of red. Additionally, there is a captivating deep blue-coloured Hydrangea that further enhances the beauty of the island. 

5 - THE WHITE GARDEN

Our dedicated Head Gardener has been diligently working on planting an extensive selection of plants renowned for their white flowers, all poised to bloom in the upcoming spring. This garden is an ongoing project, with additional plants continuously being added over the next few years to enhance the enchanting white theme further. In the upcoming season, Daffodils (Narcissus) are scheduled to be planted, adding to the floral display. Additionally, on-site cultivation of Foxgloves (Digitalis) is underway, and they will soon find their place in the garden. 

Among the plants to eagerly anticipate, keep an eye out for two distinct white varieties of Hydrangea, namely Hydrangea macrophylla and Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle.’ These elegant hydrangeas will grace the garden with their captivating white blooms. Furthermore, the Chinese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica var. japonica) will fill the air with its sweet vanilla scent, adding a delightful fragrance to the surroundings.

6 - EDWARDIAN GARDEN

As you cast your gaze towards the Gilpin hotel, you behold the original garden lovingly planted by Great Grandmother Aunt Gertie, a testament to the legacy of generations past.

To the left of the garden stands a majestic Yew tree (Taxus baccata). These remarkable trees have the potential to live for 400-600 years, and it is noteworthy that there are 10 yews in Britain believed to have existed before the 10th century, carrying with them a rich sense of history.

7 - PIGS PEN

In the wake of our John Cunliffes passing, 3 Vietnamese Pot-Bellied pigs were purchased to brighten Christine’s (Mom) spirits. The delightful names of our pigs: Salt, Pepper, and Mustard, reflect their unique personalities and add a touch of whimsy to our lives.

We’ve rescheduled feeding time to 10:30 AM. This adjustment allows interested guests to join us in observing the feeding process. It can be a lovely experience to witness the interaction between our beloved pigs and those who visit.

On the opposite side of the Pig Pen, there is a small meadow awaiting further development. We are carefully observing the emergence of different flowers throughout the seasons, noting their beauty and diversity. Near the top end of the meadow, beneath the shade of a magnificent Sweet Chestnut tree (Castenea sativa), a fascinating array of toadstools and mushrooms can be found, depending on the conditions and time of year. This natural display adds a touch of enchantment to the surroundings, providing a serene spot for contemplation.

8 - GILPIN HOTEL GARDEN

The Gilpin Hotel garden was built in 2010 when the extension was done and modelled as a Lakeland Garden theme.  Our guests enjoy relaxing in the garden enjoying drinks or a lovely sandwich from our lounge menu.  There is a planned update for the garden in the near future.

9 - THE ORCHARD

The orchard was planted in the summer of 2020  in memory of John Cunliffe who had passed away in April 2020.  A variety of apples, plums and pears were planted in the orchard which includes the following.

Victoria Plum (Prunus domestica ‘Victoria’)

Concorde Pear (Pyrus communis ‘Concorde’)

Williams’ bon chrétien pear (Pryus communis ‘Williams’)

Herefordshire Russet Apple (Malus domestica ‘Herefordshire Russet’)

James Grieve Apple (Malus domestica ‘James Grieve’)

Falstaff Apple (Malus domestica ”Red Falstaff ‘PBR‘)

Egremot Russet (Malus domesticaEgremot Russet‘)

Jonagold Apple (Malus domesticaJonagold‘)

Bramley’s Seedling Apple (Malus domestica ‘Bramley’s Seedling’)

In the future, once the trees mature and produce large amounts of fruit, plans are in place to use the fruit in the restaurants.

10 - THE TENNIS COURT POND

This garden and pond were once the tennis court of Great Grandmother Aunt Gertie. Now, they are overlooked by the junior and garden suites, where our guests love to sit and enjoy the peacefulness it provides.

The COR-TEN steel dome, built by Ben Cunliffe, was part of a show garden at the RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park in the summer of 2008. The show garden, themed around the garden suites, received a silver merit award.

It is truly peaceful to sit next to the pond under the large beech tree. Below the beech tree, Tree Heather (Erica arborea) blooms with beautiful small white flowers in winter and spring. The pond features evergreen plants, including white water lilies (Nymphaea alba) and water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes). Additionally, Arum lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica) have been planted to enhance the garden’s beauty.

11 - THE PADDOCK

Llamas and alpacas have played a significant role at Gilpin since 2009, when a friend gifted us some llamas. Later, in 2019, alpacas joined our establishment.

When comparing llamas and alpacas, the most notable distinctions lie in their size and facial features. Alpacas tend to be smaller in stature, with small, blunt faces and short ears. In contrast, llamas have elongated faces with ears resembling the size of bananas.

Another prominent difference is in their hair. Alpacas boast shaggy hair used for fleece production, with colours ranging from white and light yellow to brown and black. Llamas, however, have coarser hair, and their wool is considered to be of inferior quality.

In addition to their distinctive characteristics, llamas and alpacas serve a valuable purpose at Gilpin by helping to keep the long grass under control. Their manure also proves to be an excellent fertiliser, used in many of the growing mediums across the estate.

If you visit during specific times of the year, you may come across giant mushrooms sprouting in the area.

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12 - THE GILPIN TARN

Located above the Gilpin Tarn, a spring serves as its water source. The water from the Gilpin Tarn flows into John’s Pond, with another spring situated just below the tarn also contributing to the flow into John’s Pond. Eventually, the combined flow makes its way into Morecambe Bay, just above Sandside in Milnthorpe.

In the past, the Gilpin Tarn acted as the primary water source for the household, and remnants of the old water tanks can still be observed.

Exciting plans are underway for the area. There are intentions to lower the island, construct a bridge, and install a gazebo on the island. This development will provide guests with a delightful spot to relax and appreciate the serene surroundings. Additionally, efforts will be made to reintroduce wild grasses and reeds, enhancing the natural beauty of the area.

13 - WILD LILY

In spring and summer, this area is abundant with wild arum lilies. Wild arum lilies, also known as Cuckoo Pint or Lords-and-Ladies (Arum maculatum), are perennial plants belonging to the Araceae family. Native to Europe, they thrive in various woodland habitats, hedgerows, and damp meadows.

Here are some key characteristics and information about wild arum lilies:

Appearance: Wild arum lilies are herbaceous plants typically growing to 30-60 centimetres (12-24 inches) in height. They feature arrow-shaped leaves with prominent veining, varying in colour from deep green to purple-brown. The most distinctive feature is their unique flower structure.

Flowers: The flowers consist of a yellow or greenish-yellow spathe (a large, hood-like bract) surrounding a finger-like spadix, densely packed with small, tightly clustered flowers. Flowering occurs between April and June, attracting pollinators like flies and beetles with a foul smell resembling rotting meat.

Berries: After pollination, the female flowers develop into clusters of bright red berries. While visually attractive, the berries are toxic if ingested, so caution is advised, especially around children and pets.

Ecological Importance: Wild arum lilies support biodiversity by providing nectar for certain insects, particularly flies and beetles attracted to their strong odour. Additionally, certain bird species consume the bright red berries, aiding in seed dispersal.

Cultural Significance: Wild arum lilies have been subjects of fascination in folklore and literature, symbolising rebirth, transformation, and hidden beauty. However, they are toxic and should not be ingested or handled without proper precautions.

It’s worth mentioning that while wild arum lilies can be visually appealing, they can also be invasive in some regions. Their ability to spread through underground tubers and seeds can lead to dominance in certain ecosystems, outcompeting native plant species. Therefore, managing their growth and preventing their spread in areas where they are considered invasive is important.

14 - JOHN’S POND

From the viewpoint, you can gaze down upon a picturesque natural swimming pond nestled below. This idyllic spot holds sentimental value as it was a cherished place for John and Elizabeth during their childhood. They spent countless hours swimming and relishing the invigorating, cold waters.

Presently, the pond suffers from a leak, but plans are in motion to rectify this issue. Once the leak is fixed, the water level will rise, rejuvenating the pond. Additionally, the surrounding area will be cleared, allowing for an enhanced view of the enchanting surroundings and the blooming lilies.

The area boasts an abundance of azaleas (Rhododendron), adding vibrant splashes of colour to the landscape. If luck is on your side, you may even catch a glimpse of the majestic red deer that inhabit the woodlands beyond the fence. However, managing the deer’s presence poses an ongoing challenge, as they have a fondness for venturing onto the estate and causing significant damage to the plants.  (It’s not uncommon for venison to be on the menu.)

15 - BIOMASS POND

The Biomass pond project is currently in progress, making use of the natural cleft of ridged Lakeland stone. Mosses indigenous to the Lakeland area will be carefully planted, alongside naturally occurring grasses, creating a harmonious and authentic ecosystem.

In 2014, the Biomass system was installed at Gilpin. This system utilises certified renewable wood chip resources, harnessing the energy derived from these organic materials to generate heat or convert it into electricity. Willow trees serve as the source of the wood chips, as they are renowned for their rapid growth, producing a substantial amount of biomass within a short time.

By utilising biomass, Gilpin actively contributes to reducing its carbon footprint. This sustainable approach proves to be more beneficial to the planet than relying solely on fossil fuels such as gas and oil. The commitment to employing biomass aligns with Gilpin’s significant plan for a more sustainable future, ensuring a greener and more environmentally friendly approach to energy consumption.

16 - JAPANESE STEP GARDEN

As you head down from the biomass along the road, the left side area will be converted into a Japanese Step Garden. This project is scheduled to be developed during the Winter of 2025

17 - ARWEN GARDEN

The Arwen Garden, situated by our Spa Space at Gilpin Hotel hot tubs, stands as a poignant memorial to Storm Arwen, which impacted the United Kingdom, Ireland, and France from November 25th to 27th, 2021.

Storm Arwen emerged as a formidable extratropical cyclone, unleashing measured winds that reached an astonishing 110 mph. The storm wreaked havoc across extensive areas of the UK, resulting in severe damage and widespread power outages caused by relentless gale-force winds and heavy snowfall.

In a touching tribute, all the wood, stumps, and root balls within the Arwen Garden originate from trees that were uprooted and toppled during the storm, including those from the Gilpin properties. The storm’s extensive devastation forced both the Gilpin Hotel and the Lake House to temporarily close their doors as the aftermath was dealt with.

The Arwen Garden serves as a reminder of the destructive power of nature and pays homage to the resilience and recovery in the face of such adversity.

We hope you enjoyed exploring Gilpin’s Garden Route and discovered the many delightful features of our grounds. After your walk, why not take a moment to relax and unwind in our comfortable lounge area with a refreshing drink? It’s the perfect way to recharge before preparing for an exquisite dining experience in one of our renowned restaurants or indulging in a rejuvenating treatment at our Spa Space. Whatever you choose, we are here to ensure your stay at Gilpin Hotel is as relaxing and enjoyable as possible.