Estate In Cramlington, Northumberland
The private estate of the White Ridley family where the grounds are filled with wonderful statues, follies and temples.
Having lived in Cramlington for a couple of decades and worked in the Horton Park Offices on Berwick Hill Road, I have passed the Blagdon Hall Estate numerous times and always wondered what was inside.
Those huge white bulls adorning the gates were tempting to enter, unfortunately the hall and estates are privately owned by the White Ridley family and have been since 1698.
Fortunately we found out that the grounds are kindly opened for charity open days a few times each year, so we managed to have a peep in October.
Strap in, this is going to be photo heavy! We started off by exploring a little copse next to the hall containing four statues.
The bull is a pretty common theme in the grounds having passed two white bulls on the entrance gates.
We then headed across a little bridge overlooked by another four statues, two on each end.
Heading around the corner from the bridge we spotted a little temple hidden in the trees.
We then turned down a little track to find this small building lurking on the edge of the woods.
Following the track led us further down into the woods and to a little stream called Snitter Burn.
Some stairs to nowhere.
Lots of little fab things to see down here.
For once my photograph was actually straight. This statue was a tad wonky!
We spied the little temple again from below.
Then in the little copse we found a face holding up the rock face with an owl as company.
Then a commemorative well to Sir Edwin Lutyens.
We then headed back down to the burn and followed it until it opened onto a marshy pond.
Looking across the pond we saw a fabulous folly.
So we headed over the nearby bridge to investigate.
However before we got to the folly we were met by this charming little gate over the track.
We then turned right just before the gate and went in search of the folly, but once again we spied other delights to investigate.
Distractions over, we eventually turned out attention to the folly.
A little pedestal and what looks like a broken grave were just outside of the folly.
Turning back towards the pond a little temple was poking out from the trees.
We returned to the track through the wood and before we got to the temple, we found a little building lurking.
We found little plaques with faces on adorning the walls.
Another little template before we found the temple.
At the top end of the pond, we found one of our favourite things. Stepping stones!
Trapsing over the woods opened out onto Blagdon Hall's own cricket ground.
Back towards the hall we headed over another bridge and followed signs for the gardens.
The gardens were filled with apple trees with a plethora of brick pillars. If this was originally for an old building or greenhouse it would have been huge.
We turned back towards the hall and past a little ornamental pond an eyecatcher.
Just before we headed home, we thought we'd get a photo of the back of the hall without realising there was a beautiful garden with a long water feature.
Another bull statue on each side of the water.
The only surviving bronze statue of Milo of Croton by John Graham Lough is located at the end of the pond.
Turning around and looking across the fields, you can just make out the air traffic control tower at Newcastle Airport.
We headed back to the hall and took a few final photos before we headed home.
The house is over 300 years old and was actually built in two phases between about 1720 and 1752 before being enlarged by the local architect John Dobson in the 19th century.
The present Viscount Ridley is the science writer Matt Ridley.
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On the open days, head up the drive past the gate with the white bulls and you'll be directed to the car parking.
Contributed by Simon Hawkins
Thanks for checking out this place on the Fabulous North! I do enjoy a wander out in to the countryside trying to find hidden gems that not many people know about. You can't beat a rogue Pele tower up a remote hill or a mysterious stone circle or a stunning waterfall secluded in a forest.
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