Posted on 22/05/2019
Great Haywood Junction is where the Trent & Mersey meets the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal, and just southeast of the junction lies the majestic Shugborough Estate. A recent acquisition of the National Trust, it’s a rare example of a complete estate with mansion house, servants’ quarters, farmyard and walled garden still intact.
In the 18th century, the estate was owned by two brothers, Thomas and George Anson. Inspired by places he visited on his Grand Tour of Europe, Thomas wished to create his “perfect paradise” at Shugborough, while his brother circumnavigated the globe aboard his ship HMS Centurion. It was his capture of a Spanish treasure galleon that funded much of Shugborough Estate, including the ornamental lake and fascinating follies and monuments you can still see in the gardens today.
Visitors can browse the treasures in the Georgian mansion before retreating below stairs to the servants quarters and its huge 18th-century kitchen, complete with copper ware. Outside, you’ll find Explorer’s Wood, which has a nautical theme inspired by George’s journey around the world, and Bugborough – a series of bug hotels made out of natural and recycled materials.
There’s an abundance of walking trails you can enjoy on the estate’s parkland – keep your eyes peeled for the small pearl-bordered fritillary, which is currently a threatened species of butterfly. Near to the estate is Canalside Farm, a farmshop and café, which has written up this lovely short walk that follows the Trent & Mersey to Shugborough Estate, with an optional detour along the public bridleway across the park.