On a low granite spur, which has its footage in the southern flank of Scafell, is a small woodland intriguingly known as Giggle Alley.
Hidden at the heart of this wood is the remains of a Japanese Garden. In addition to the garden the woodland is a great place for a short family walk where children can enjoy playing hide and seek.
The Japanese Garden was commissioned by Lord Rea and designed by Thomas Mawson's team of garden designers in 1914. At its heart are a series of pools (now filled only when it rains) surrouned by bamboo, magnolia and maples.
The garden is being restored through a partnership between the Forestry Commission and the local community and is free to visit and open daily. The Post Office in Eskdale Green usually has a supply of guides for sale.
What do other visitors say?
4 StarsAnonymous, 12/Oct/2015
Lovely garden obviously in the process of restoration but you can see the bones of what is there
2 StarsG Powell, 2/Oct/2015
Been on the La'al Ratty today, and saw in the timetable a japanese garden to visit. We eventually found what remains of the garden, no signs from the railway, and one impressive sign at the foot of the climb in to the woods, its a shame it was more impressive than the garden. It was very disappointing to say the least, there is hardly anything there. I could imagine it will be very nice if it was attended to but think this should be either fully explained or taken off the ratty brochures. We did pick lots of blackberries though on our way back to the train :o)
Forestry Commission Response
We do appreciate that the gardens have become run down of late. A very committed and enthusiastic volunteer group used to care for the gardens but have unfortunately not had the capacity recently to continue with the upkeep. A local school have recently started to carry out practical conservation work at Giggle Alley which will help the children to complete the John Muir Award programme. We also have plans to help reinvigorate the volunteer group and hope that we can work towards returning the gardens to their former glory in the near future.
5 StarsAnonymous, 14/Jul/2014
Visited this example of a Thomas Mawson designed landscape whilst camping at nearby Fisherground. Appears to be an extension to the larger private gardens to nearby house. Credit to FC and local community's hard work.