Southport’s Botanic Gardens is few minutes out of the Southport centre in Churchtown are the Botanic Gardens. Originally opened in 1874, these Victorian gardens are bursting with floral splendour and colourful displays. Winding through the park is the garden’s lake and a multitude of pathways. There’s a Victorian fernery, aviary, gift shop and café too, so there’s plenty to see and explore.
The gardens were founded by a local group of working men, known as the Southport and Churchtown Botanic Gardens Company. The company acquired land from the Hesketh Estate (which belonged to Meols Hall) to establish the gardens. The company raised £18,000 to build the museum, a conservatory and tea rooms and to landscape the gardens.
The Botanic Gardens’ lake was formed from part of a stream (known as Otter Pool) that flowed from Block through Meols Hall out to the Ribble estuary It is said that monks who lived nearby fished for eels in the stream. Until recently the flow of this stream had been intentionally blocked for 20–30 years at the point where it passed into the Gardens under Botanic Road, but this conduit was reopened in 2012. The gush of water out of the lake on re-opening sluiced away silt and mud in the stream bed, briefly exposing the cobbled ford which predated the road bridge.
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