IT is a hidden gem of Warrington.

It is also regularly mentioned in lists of top things to do in Warrington on TripAdvisor.

But how did Grappenhall Heys Walled Garden end up there and what is the history of the site?

Well the Grappenhall Heys estate was founded by Thomas Parr (of Parr Hall fame) in the 1830s.

Parr bought the land, including Witherwin Farm, over a period of years until he eventually owner an area of around 150 acres.

The house was built in a raised location in the centre of the land.

Formal gardens surrounded the house on three sides while there was also lawns, terraces and a bowling green.

The estate was passed through the Parr family and it had its heyday in the late 19th century with the home well staffed when Joseph, Thomas’ son was running it.

It appears the house was not lived in by the family after 1941, when it suffered the same fate as many large homes during the Second World War.

The house and formal gardens were sold in 1951, for £7,500, to the British Transport Commission. The farms and other structures were also sold around this time to a variety of buyers.

Finally, after a period as a furniture store, the house and surrounding land passed to the Warrington-Runcorn Development Corporation in 1975.

The house was demolished as it had fallen into such a poor state of repair.

The walled garden itself probably was created around before 1830, with maps from 1829 showing the ponds in the same place they are now.

Warrington Guardian: Grappenhall Heys Walled Garden

The restored greenhouses

The Kitchen Garden was almost certainly built when the estate was formed in the early 1830s to provide fruit, vegetables and flowers for the owner’s table. A range of greenhouses built along the sunniest side of the garden, and extended in the late 19th century, provided more exotic produce such as peaches.

As the life of the estate declined in the 20th century, the need for the Walled Garden reduced.

But the garden was retained and not sold off, instead gifted to a former employee, Mr Power, who used it to raise poultry.

The garden was used for dumping and pictures from 1970s show abandoned cars on the site.

But the basic structure remained in place, allowing for refurbishment in the early 2000s.

Now it is one of the most popular gardens in town.

Warrington Guardian: Grappenhall Heys Walled Garden