An ongoing love affair with bougainvillea
Just one more beautiful piece of English Heritage, before I move on. I’ve jumped counties this week, to Nottinghamshire and an Elizabethan country house, Wollaton Hall, dating from the 1580s. The sturdy old entrance gate looks anything but welcoming but, beyond it, 500 acres of parkland wrap gently around this elegant house on a hill. Lime Tree Walk sweeps gracefully upwards, but I’m diverted by the activity down at the lake.
An aloof swan or two, some cheerful coots and a waddle of ducks glide around the lemon and white water lilies, on a well nigh perfect summer’s day. The lake, just big enough to consume an icecream as you walk around it.
The park is also home to herds of Red and Fallow deer, some of whom astonished me by treading nonchalantly across the adjacent golf course. It must be a common occurrence, for the golfers appeared unperturbed.
There are formal gardens too, out of reach of the deer, but Wollaton is best known as Nottingham’s Natural History Museum. I’m really not fond of stuffed animals, but had to venture inside the hall out of curiosity. I was glad I did. In parts it was very beautiful.
It being the summer holidays, the hall was full of distractions for children. My daughter, long past childhood but a child at heart, still likes to twirl a bat cape alongside Bruce Wayne. Batman Forever! Wollaton regularly hosts events, and has been used as a film set on several occasions, understandably looking at this staircase. There appeared to be dinosaurs in residence, too.
I was interested to read of the behind the scenes tours available at the house, including a ‘descent to the depths’ to discover the Tudor Kitchen and the Admiral’s Bath! I averted my eyes from much of the taxidermy, but stopped to read Len’s story, and some history of the hall.
You can also access the roof for a closer look at the Pavilion Towers. Or how about a Bat Walk, or ghost tour? There have to be a few skeletons in the cupboards around here, wouldn’t you think?
We had some ace cake eaters in our company that day. Sampling is a public service, after all. Fortunately standards were met in the Courtyard.
Within the courtyard I also found something quite fascinating- an ancient knitting machine, on loan from the Framework Knitters Museum at Ruddington. All in all, a very satisfying afternoon out.
And there you have it! A bundle of very happy memories from an English summer.
Time to share this week’s walks. You have to admit, there’s variety here. And if you want to add something of your own, you know where to find me. Jo’s Monday walk explains it all. Join me here any time.
Let’s start with Debbie. I remember this place as being wonderfully atmospheric :
What is it about Cornwall that makes its gardens so beautiful? Jude might know :
More colourful characters from Janet this week :
Wonder what Jackie’s been eating?
Stroll round ‘Kyoto’s Kitchen’ with Lady Lee :
Irene takes us to a beautiful place :
Step by step, Cathy crosses Northern Spain, meeting a few characters along the way :
And I made a new acquaintance in Marsi. The views are stupendous, but you need to be fit!
I’ve been back in the Algarve for 3 weeks now, settling into a rhythm of sorts. I hope you’ll hang around to enjoy it with me. Take care, all!
They do look like they’re rolling around laughing, don’t you think? Always time for a smile on Six Word Saturday. Or beauty, with Debbie.
I’m still in garden mode today. That’s what inevitably comes from a visit to England. At the suggestion of two good friends a jaunt out to a rather wonderful Edwardian country estate took place. Celebrating 50 years of being open to the public, Lotherton Hall is a pleasant ride out of Leeds City Centre on the number 64 bus. Amazing how quickly you can leave the city behind and be surrounded by rolling English countryside and pretty villages. And wonder of wonders, the sun was beaming down! Gardens first, in case the weather changed its mind.
The hall was once owned by the Gascoigne family and the formal gardens were designed between 1893 and 1914. The rose terrace is overlooked by a remarkable bronze sculpture, ‘Peony Priest’. I didn’t take as many photos as I normally would because I was in excellent company, and there was much catching up to do. As well as that, a Vintage Fair had taken pride of place in the gardens. Stalls with all manner of garments, glassware, china and books filled the lawns. A little browsing and, to save the contents of our purses, you understand, it was into the Coach House for coffee (and a scone with jam and cream 🙂 ).
A tiny chapel in the grounds is dedicated to St. James and dates back to 1170. It was restored during the First World War for the use of soldiers recuperating at Lotherton. The serenity must have seemed a boon to them.
Elsewhere in the grounds a Beatles Tribute Band was tuning up. Serenity destroyed, but there were lots of toe tappers. Our visit to the hall was accompanied by the familiar strains of ‘It’s been a Hard Day’s Night’. It was all I could do not to join in the chorus as I looked through the window.
The hall itself truly captured my imagination. It brings to life another era, and tells the stories of the Gascoignes and the families that worked for them, in an ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ fashion. Sir Alvary Gascoigne had a highly successful diplomatic career and this is reflected in the exquisite furniture and fabulous chinoiserie throughout the house.
I’m sure that many people would enjoy this step back in time, but the Lotherton Hall experience doesn’t end there. An enormous range of birds, many of which I have never seen before, inhabit the aviary. Moving from one compound to the next presented continuous surprises. I’m not a fan of zoos in general, but there were lots of happy children and their parents in the park.
We’d done a lot of wandering and it was time for a substantial meal. My friend’s suggestion of the ‘Crooked Billet’ pub, just 1.6 miles away, was a huge success. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, isn’t it? And surely Eton Mess can’t be fattening!
Their only son is getting married this Friday. I wish him and his bride a wonderful life together, and hope they’ll be as happy as his Mum and Dad.
More walks to share this week. Thank you all for contributing and for reading. Join me any time you like, here on Jo’s Monday walk.
I’m stealing from a master this week. I’m sure most of you will know the work of Lignum Draco :
And, just over the water, Jude focuses on what she does best- a Cornish garden :
While Margaret does her best to cheer us, with a dash of ‘je ne sais quoi’ :
This lady never ceases to amaze me with the places she goes, and the resulting photographs :
While Lady Lee has the best holidays ever :
A challenging walk from Cheryl, but well worth it, I know you’ll agree :
While Irene takes us to some stunning heights in Hawaii :
And Teabee reminds me of the beauty of English heather :
Alice’s turn to take us through some locks this week :
Drake shares another snippet of his fascinating life :
And Janet demonstrates her fondness for animals :
If you’re just feeling lazy, Sandra has the answer :
But Cathy strides on with determination in every step :
Nothing left to do but wish you all a great week. See you soon!
‘How many kinds of sweet flowers grow in an English Country Garden?’ Who’d have thought I’d manage to squeeze in a visit to an Open Garden on my recent UK trip! Sleightholmedale Lodge, near Kirby Moorside, had a lovely hillside location. And cake! But I stoutly resisted. ‘
As usual, Debbie has the market cornered on six words. Why not join in? Wishing you a happy Saturday!
What could be finer, on an almost sunny day, than a little piece of English Heritage, topped off with a canalside walk? Numerous times I have passed by the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey, with a backward look and a sigh. Founded in 1152, over 800 years ago, this Cistercian monastery is surrounded by greenery and sits on the banks of the River Aire.
All summer long Leeds City Council have provided activities to keep youngsters active and entertained. Kirkstall Abbey was one of the venues, in case you were wondering about the terrier. He was watching me with curiosity as I read the signboards and imagined how life must have been, back in those draughty days.
A short, sharp shower forced us across the road and into the Abbey House tearooms. Excellent timing for a huge slice of carrot cake.
I was astonished to learn that the main road into Leeds had once passed through the Abbey. Today it buzzes and hums alongside, but a far quieter route into town can be found just a few hundred metres beyond, along the Leeds-Liverpool canal.
Leaving the Abbey to its own devices, I meandered across the grass to join the riverside path. Youngsters were trying to span the river, with whoops of laughter, at a narrow point among the trees. Beyond the weir it wasn’t immediately obvious how to reach the towpath, and I ended up on a rugby pitch, with some rusty containers. Big hint- it is necessary to cross over the river to access the canal.
You never know what you’ll find on, or in, a canal. Discarded gaiety from the day before, an old lad and his equally old boat, nuts and bolts and bridges, and a dad, wheeling the pushchair in search of peace and quiet.
Waterside weeds aplenty, dappled shade, a pigeon under a bridge, looking wary, and a timely reminder of distance. Today’s walk, just a fraction of that. Suddenly welcome sunshine flooded the canal with brilliant light, and simultaneously I passed by a small marina.
Close by, the traffic thundered over bridges, but in this watery world all was stillness and calm, with patches of ugliness. Angled shots seemed to suit the confined space, reflecting the heavy girders with ease.
Approaching Leeds centre many of the old warehouses have been converted, but there are still sad facades with bleak-looking, shattered windows. A museum peers down from behind railings. Spare patches of wall host graffiti. The canal trundles silently, nurturing its wildlife.
The railway joins the canal and the road network, and gradually everything converges on the city. A sequence of locks steers you through it’s very heart. The conviviality of the canals always draws people together, and I love this about them.
I have to apologise for being a bit ‘all over the place’ right now. Many of you will know that I am back in my Algarve home, after spending most of August in the UK. Events have overtaken me, but I have a few ambles still to share from my time in England.
As always, many thanks to you all for following my wandering footsteps. I hope you can spare some time to visit my walkers. I can promise variety! Join me next time, on Jo’s Monday walk? You’re always very welcome.
Jude’s back with us this week, sharing beautiful Cornwall :
Denzil’s shifted his focus a little lately, but the details are, as always, excellent :
Debbie always finds such interesting subjects for her walks :
A beautifully written walk from Mel, with some great historic background :
And by contrast, Joanne shares some very English heritage and sights :
There isn’t any shortage of beautiful cities in Europe, is there? Thanks, Drake!
Janet shares a lovely picture storyboard this week :
While Natalie keeps our fitness in mind, in a beautiful setting :
And Jackie has a very different focus :
Ann-Christine reflects on our topsy-turvy world :
Lady Lee’s back from a fabulous holiday :
While poor Cathy just keeps right on walking!
There’s walking, and then there’s Lexie! This is an unbelievable effort. You will be amazed!
That’s it for another week. I plan a slow day today as the weekend was hot and hectic. Whatever you find to do, take good care of yourself.
Many thanks to Leeds City Council for bringing so much pleasure to small boys and girls this summer. And to some of us oldies! Debbie’s having fun today too. Join her with six words? Happy Saturday!