A New Triathlon for Cheshire, Manchester and the Northwest

About Belvoir Castle

Belvoir, meaning beautiful view in French, dates back to Norman times. The English pronunciation 'Beaver' was built up over many centuries through the inability of Anglo-Saxons to master the French tongue.

Belvoir Castle Belvoir has been the ancestral home of the Duke and Duchess of Rutland for one thousand years and is currently the family home of 11th Duke and Duchess and their five children. The present Castle is the fourth to have stood on the site since Norman times. The existing Castle was completed in the early 19th century after previous buildings suffered complete or partial destruction during the Wars of the Roses, the Civil War and a major fire in 1816.

From the elegance of the Elizabeth Saloon and the majesty of the State Dining Room to the delights of the Regents Gallery and the military splendour of the Guard Room, Belvoir possesses one of the most stunning interiors of the period.

In contrast to the grandeur of the State Rooms, the Old Kitchen and Bakery fuel the imagination of 'below the stairs' life in 1825. While the School Room and Nursery allow children to experience games from Regency times.

The Castle contains many notable pieces of art and includes paintings by Gainsborough, Reynolds, Holbein and Poussin. It houses outstanding collections of furniture, porcelain, silks, tapestries, French furniture and Italian sculpture. Sculpture extends outside into the Rose and Statue Gardens which are elegantly laid out round a central fountain. The Statue Collection terraced into the hillside includes work by Caius, Cibber - Sculptor to Charles II.

Gardens at Belvoir

When Elizabeth (the 5th Duchess) commissioned James Wyatt to build the Castle in 1799 she undertook the design and landscaping of the gardens, park and grounds herself. She saw the entire Vale of Belvoir as her garden and was merely framing the views with her valley gardens. Elizabeth's design and the feel of the individual gardens has many overtures brought back from the Grand Tour of an Italian terraced garden. The gardens facing Belvoir are a natural amphitheatre left by the moraines of two glaciers; she used this to her advantage. She designed and built a series of 'root houses' (summer houses), one of which can be seen today in the Duchess's Garden.

The second time when Belvoir's gardens influenced garden history was around 1900. The head gardener Mr. Divers developed the concept of mass spring flower bedding which was appropriate for Belvoir as traditionally the family stayed at the Castle in the spring before going to Cheveley in Newmarket for the season. In fact, the 8th Duke commissioned the book 'Spring Flowers at Belvoir', which we are trying to get reprinted.

In Edwardian times there were 40 gardeners, now there are only three, so restoring the gardens is a slow process however the present Duchess is passionate about the gardens and their ongoing development.

Her vision is to continue where her Mother-in-law left off 25 years ago when she pushed her mower into the overgrown Duchess's garden and started replanting this secret valley garden. Surrounding the rustic summer house, dating from 1800, the gardens have been lovingly restored to their original beauty. As part of the ongoing restoration, there is a new woodland path that leads down to the Duchess's Gardens. These magical woodland gardens, set in a natural amphitheatre with fresh water springs, are carefully planned to ensure plants bloom all year round.

The Duchess is also working on bringing together collections of specialist plants and roses in different areas of the garden so keen gardeners can come and smell the Best Beale rose and the most exquisite peony and such like.

Belvoir Castle - Belvoir Triathlon