Newcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom
July 17, 2003
The park contains 11 listed buildings and monuments including the Gothic residence "Saltwell Towers". Until quite recently, the house, which had formerly been the home of JA Shipley -- founder of the nearby Shipley Art GAllery (see other journals), had been allowed to fall into major disrepair and become little more than a shell. Now there is major work going on the restore the quirky turreted building to its former splendour.
In all, there are 55 acres of landscaped gardens, water features, and architecture.
The landscaped gardens can be split into two sections; the first is Saltwell Towers and the landscaped gardens designed by noted local William Wailes and the second is the area north of this known as "Parklands" which was designed by Edward Kemp. The latter consists of a series of garden "rooms" which range from a wild flower meadow to an ornate and formal Italianate garden.
There is garden after garden of flowers of all shades linked together by little narrow lanes edged with privet which often grows over the top and forms an arch. There are benches dotted around giving you somewhere to sit and get a little shade on hot days.
Elsewhere, there is a boating lake where you can hire a rowing boat, edged by a couple of steps where you can can feed the ducks and geese - always a favourite with the children!
Just next to the lake is a childrens' play area with all kinds of swings and climbing apparatus, with a bed of soft material underneath incase of falls and just above this is a huge grass area, great for ball games, frisbee, etc. On hot days there are legions of sunbathers here, picnic-ing or reading but there is room enough for everyone.
Beyond the lake is a bandstand where you can here music in the summer evenings and at weekends.
It takes around an hour to complete a circuit of the park and whilst the surroundings always have something to offer, I think that early evening is good time to walk round the whole park. You can hear the birds singing, the bats starting to squeak and occasionally you can spot an owl hiding in the trees.
Saltwell Park is one those places you always feel grateful for, a breath of fresh air in town.
From journal Gateshead - No Longer the Poor Relation?