13th July 2003. Visit to Biddulph Grange Gardens & Barbecue at Alsager.
Report by Bernard and Clare Jones.  Photos by John Ridyard and Mike Smith.

Starting line up at Congleton Tesco's


Biddulph Grange gardens


Biddullph Grange with the lake in the foreground.


Healeys at rest in the shade.


 Sunday the 13th July dawned with the temperature already up to 20°C when we decided to emerge from beneath the duvet, therefore all looked well for a wonderful day out with like minded people in the Cheshire countryside.

  Having fuelled KKH 182 D the day before and after a bite of breakfast we set out for Congleton just after 9.00 am. As we joined the M6 the traffic was already quite busy with the majority heading north towards Blackpool and the Lakes. Following negotiating three sets of road works without any bother we departed the M6 at junction 17 and headed along the A534 towards the rendezvous at the Tesco car park in Congleton. It was wonderful to get onto an A road and away from all that noise on the motorway. Having made good time we expected to arrive there before anyone else at around 10.20 am. This was soon found not to be the case, as there were already two "Big" Healeys parked in an unoccupied section at the far side of the car park. Within a few minutes various cars began to arrive until there were around ten Big Healeys and two Frogeyes and one lone "Triumph TR". 

 Denis duly arrived and distributed the route instructions together with a few verbal instructions to ensure we all went the correct way.

  A few minutes before the appointed hour of 11.00 am. various cars  began to leave. We duly got under way just before 11.00 only after applying more copious amounts of sun cream, as by this time the temperature was really starting to climb.

  After a short scenic run of around eleven miles my navigator brought us to the car park of Biddulph Grange Gardens were we parked up under the shade of the trees along with the rest of the run participants. Our first stop was the Tea Room for a much needed cup of coffee. Now feeling revived from our intake of caffeine we set off on our tour of the gardens. What a wonderful tranquil and relaxing arrangement of gardens. Even though there were a good number of people about it didn't seem crowded. The more energetic of our group walked the full length of "Wellingtonia Avenue" or "Lime  Avenue". The more "Aged" strolled around the picturesque areas of the garden with the romantic names of "Egypt", "China", "Watchtower", "Cheshire Cottage", and "The Glen" all with plants and flowers appropriate to their names. It was a pity that "The Great Wall of China" was closed for repair. The gardens weren't quite as colourful as had been expected as we seemed to have caught the gardens between seasons. Following the obligatory visit by the ladies of our party to the "Gift Shop" we returned to the cars under the trees.

  The run from Biddulph Grange Gardens to Denis and Margaret’s was most enjoyable even though it was only of some 12.9 miles duration. The run up the ridge to the village of Mow Cop was quite wonderful with some spectacular views to both east and west. In todays glorious weather the village of Mow Cop seemed almost idyllic, but I would hate to see it in the depths of winter. The descent down the western side of the ridge was also quite exhilarating in a different sort of way. A good test for the Healey's brakes and gearbox. Arriving at Alsager  we were welcomed by the "Host" and advised where to park. Some four or five cars having already arrived we chose to park on the grass verge by the gate.

  After finding a spot to sit in the shade by the "Balinese Bed" we enjoyed a most satisfying barbeque with Sgt Major Curran in control of the cooking. As the sun moved across the sky members were moving tables and chairs to find some shade from the blistering sun. Following some complimentary words from our chairman John, the time came all too soon to pack up our traps, climb into the "Healey" and head north again up the M6 to Lancashire. The run home was uneventful except for the fact that it was extremely hot and noisy.

  Thanks once again to Denis and Margaret from Clare and I for all the time and effort you must both have expended in organising today’s event. A big thank you also on behalf of all Austin Healey Club members who attended today's event. See you all again soon.

The tranquil China Garden.


Chef Curran doing what he does so well.


Enjoying the BBQ in the Ausitin's back garden.


That Balinese bed.


Back to Events