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“An Antidote to Over-Commercialised Attractions”
Review of Cascades Gardens

Cascades Gardens
Ranked #2 of 6 things to do in Bonsall
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Cascades Gardens is a beautiful and interesting garden to visit in Derbyshire, in the historic village of Bonsall near Matlock. Ideal for garden enthusiasts, plantsmen and for those who just want to relax in the beautiful natural surroundings and visit a garden in Derbyshire and the Peak District. Come and explore this fascinating garden which originates from the 18th century and surrounds the ruins of a corn mill, with pond and mill race, canal and an old lead mine. Cascades gardens is set on many levels with a new "garden room" around every corner-perennial flower beds, roses, waterside planting and alpine and conifer rockeries. There is a great view from the cliff top path. Every season brings new surprises with hosts of snowdrops, hellebores, hosta, daffodils, unusual perennial flowers, shrubs, trees and conifers. A wide range of plants in the garden are available for sale in the nursery. The informal gardens have been designed to blend in with the spectacular natural landscape of rocks, cliffs and woodland. The Bonsall brook runs through the garden and flows over the ruined corn mill and many waterfalls which gives the house it's name. In the winter the water can be a torrent and in the summer a gentle trickle. Group visits are most welcome and refreshments for groups can be made available by prior arrangement. Talks are given by Alan Clements, the owner, to clubs and societies. Please contact us for details The historic village of Bonsall has many old buildings, and is a great place to walk in the hills. It has two attractive old pubs that offer a warm welcome and serve good food.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access
Reviewed 25 July 2017

The TripAdvisor listing is a bit confusing as there is a B&B here, as well as the gardens. This is a review of the gardens.
We went to Cascades Gardens as part of a day trip to celebrate a special anniversary. Unfortunately within minutes of our arrival my wife had a tumble (nothing to do with the gardens, she has arthritis which makes her knees give way) and the staff were excellent and couldn't have been more helpful.
The gardens are on two levels - there's an upper level, up some steep steps which we weren't able to visit, and the main gardens. The main gardens aren't big, but are laid out to give a long 'circular' walk with lots of stopping off points with lovely vistas.
Do read the notice at the entrance which tells you about the philosophy and history of the garden which will help you enjoy them more.
Do explore the old lead mine in the nursery area - how far dare YOU go?
The owner explained how they are improving the garden to give a number of 'meditation areas' and how they are doing this with a local college.
We had excellent home made cake and tea in the courtyard (I'm not sure if this is all week, or a Sunday special). The cakes having been made by the owner's son!
As other reviewers noted - there's an honesty box at the entrance if the owner isn't there. There is a nursery selling plants from the garden at reasonable prices.
There is a large free public car park (unsurfaced) just beyond the entrance to the garden.
This is just the place to go for a couple of hours quiet reflection if you need a break from the hustle and bustle of Matlock or Matlock Bath!

4  Thank Millimole
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"the cliff"
in 7 reviews
"the owner"
in 20 reviews
"water features"
in 5 reviews
in 5 reviews
"beautiful garden"
in 3 reviews
"for sale"
in 3 reviews
"beautiful place"
in 3 reviews
"unusual plants"
in 3 reviews
"wonderful visit"
in 2 reviews
"lead mining"
in 2 reviews
"next door"
in 2 reviews
"aerial view"
in 2 reviews
"different areas"
in 2 reviews
"open garden"
in 2 reviews
in 2 reviews
"buy plants"
in 2 reviews
"garden room"
in 2 reviews

27 - 31 of 57 reviews

Reviewed 24 July 2017

There are many mundane gardens one visits and that quickly fade from the memory but this is not one of them. In some ways it is quite difficult to review.

We visited on a late July Saturday morning. The very good and informative web site gives clear directions as how to find it when coming from Cromford but I do think it would be helpful if it did mention that you need to take the second entrance for the gardens (first one is just for the house) and that there is a large car parking area just past the gardens entrance. Also could these be signed on the road? Not sure who the car park area belongs to but there was a very small home made sign on the road side directing you to it. However the car park is absolutely fine and next door to the entrance - it avoids the need to park on the road.

Entrance fee is £5 which is left in an honesty box and you can pick up a good leaflet on the gardens. It is important for visitors not to think it is like visiting your average National Trust gardens and this the owner clearly points out. I would say it has a unique setting and charm, some may call it quirky. I would describe it as long and thin and surrounded by the road on one side and some very high cliffs on the other.

There is no doubt that the gardens are a great credit to the owners who must work incredibly hard on them. At the far end (from the entrance) there is a toilet, just in the house and an area with tables and chairs which I presume are used on Open days when refreshments are no doubt provided. You wouldn't expect drinks to be available as a matter of routine..

In the last month or so, we visited a lot of gardens in the Cotswolds, of differing sizes and themes and this is definitely one that will linger in the memory for the right reasons. I didn't have the courage to venture into the disused Lead Mine tunnel but a torch is provided for those who may wish to.We did have a look at the plants for sale but did think the fuschias as an example were quite expensive and a description of 'red & white' was a bit vague.

However these gardens are well worth a visit and can easily be combined with a visit to Matlock and/or Bakewell. Around an hour should suffice unless you want to sit on the seats and admire the view.

1  Thank Andrew B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 16 July 2017

The garden is set in a deep valley and the area has long links with lead mining - it is possible to explore one of the ancient seams as part of this garden visit. Interesting planting and good use of water running through the site. Recommended

Thank Sarahweb1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 4 July 2017

Had two very comfortable nights here while working nearby. The house and lovely bedrooms are filled with artworks and treasures that the owner has collected from his extensive travels around the world. Alan was very friendly and helpful, what an interesting life he has led! Great bonus to have the beautiful gardens to wander in too.

1  Thank Kay C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed 13 June 2017

Beautiful garden which have been lovingly created by the owner. Originally the site was a mine but now picturesque gardens with amazing hosta plants.

1  Thank Bridget W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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