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A Hole New Adventure

A Hole New Adventure

We decided on a trip to the Yorkshire Dales in October and the theme turned out to be a little unusual.

Day 1 – Getting there.

It was a rather long drive for us of about four hours so we decided to break the outward trip into two segments with a stop about 4.5 miles south-west of Congleton, Cheshire at Little Moreton Hall. This is a National Trust property and a stunning one at that.

The people that built this were obviously working on the premise “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.”

The first part of this building was built between 1504 and 1508 the Long Gallery on the top floor was added later. You may notice that the Hall is rather wonky. That is probably because the original foundations were not designed to cope with the additional weight of the Long Gallery extension.

The house is surrounded by a moat.

One of the many interesting features of this house is this conjunction of these three staircases as, at first glance, it rather boggles the mind but, with care, it can be visually sorted out.

One of the other main features is, of course, the Long Gallery on the top floor which was added about 1554. The last major extension was added in 1610.

This is a truly astonishing building and more detail is available on the main web site.

We then drove on to Settle in the Yorkshire Dales which was to be our base on this trip.

What a carry on!

What a carry on!

We had to go to Ludlow recently and Amanda wanted to see what Christmas Cards were available in the parish church. We have been to this church before and it is featured on the web site in the Ludlow pages. However on our last visit I posted only one picture of the Misericords in the Quire so I thought that I would improve upon that this time.

The Church of St. Laurence in Ludlow is the largest parish church in Shropshire and the photograph below gives an idea of its size looking along the Nave, through the crossing and Quire to the East Window. It is, basically, huge! Walking around this church is like walking around a cathedral.

The Crossing looks very impressive as one passes under it to reach the Quire and the tower is 157 feet high and was rebuilt between 1433 and 1471.

After passing through the Crossing we reach the Quire entrance which, itself, is pretty impressive.

The Quire has stalls along each side which is where one will find the Misericords.

Misericords, as you will know, are small folding seats, just a simple flap of wood that folds down, and there are 28 of them of which there is a good sample below. Each one has carving on the underside and they are 26 inches long, 12 inches deep and 6 inches thick. 16 of the misericords are older than the rest dating from around 1425. Eight have an unusual carvers mark in the form of an uprooted plant and a distinctive profile to the moulding running round the edge of the corbel. The remainder were carved around 1447.

Finally we get to the title of this piece. There used to be a phrase ‘What a carry on’, used in the vernacular, which was used to describe a commotion or loud noise and this is where the gadget below becomes relevant. It is a Carillon which is a device for automatically ringing the church bells and, as it is french, the pronunciation is very similar to ‘Carry On’ which is what the ordinary people thought it was. The carillon consists of a huge wrought iron cylinder which is turned by the church clock mechanism and the projecting pins cause hammers to strike the church bells rather like a giant music box. It has been used in this church since 1683.

Well, that was an interesting visit and Amanda did get her Christmas Cards.

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Hergest Ridge/Offa’s Dyke Path.

Hergest Ridge/Offa’s Dyke Path.

We have been to Hergest Croft Gardens, near Kington, a number of times but we had never been further up the lane to Hergest Ridge at the top. It was now time to change that.

We took our normal route to Hergest Croft Gardens but instead of turning into their car park we went straight past to the end of the lane where we parked and continued on foot through the gate along Offa’s Dyke Path.

Hergest Ridge straddles the English and Welsh border and is part of the Offa’s Dyke walk as well as a standalone highlight in any exploration of Herefordshire.

If you decide to start at the main carpark in Kington a modest climb of 1300 feet up from the quaint town will bring you to this point, where we started, and we continue through the gate on the Offa’s Dyke Route.

Heading for the top the views emerge all around and, as you walk, run, or cycle along the beautiful moorland, you may chance on wild ponies grazing , we didn’t see any, but we saw some wonderful views.

There were numerous people walking up here and you can probably see that Offa’s Dyke Path is well worn and, therefore, easy to see and follow.

There were plenty of wild flowers about and we saw this Tormentil and Gorse on the way up.

From the ridge you can look across to the Black Mountains and even as far as the Malvern Hills, with uninterrupted English and Welsh countryside landscapes all around.

Look out for the Victorian racecourse that sits atop Hergest and imagine the thrills and spills as the horses galloped around the track. As we approached the summit we could see the Monkey Puzzle Trees ahead. This area is part of the Hergest Estate and the trees were planted by one of the owners having seen similar trees growing on mountain tops in Chile in the early 1990’s.

You should also see the Whetstone near the summit, a natural stone, which in medieval times was used as a place to distribute food to people suffering from leprosy. Legend has it that the stone rolled down to Hindwell Brook each time it heard a cock crow. but it doesn’t attempt to explain how it managed to get back up the hill again.

Amanda giving an idea of the stone’s size.
The Whetstone and the Monkey Puzzle Trees.

On the way down we noticed this tree in blossom. Although the blossom is pink we think that it’s a Blackthorn.

This was an easy and very pleasant walk on a warm sunny day.

Fifty Shades of May

Fifty Shades of May

After the short grey days of winter it’s a relief to see colour appearing once again. The Rhododendrons in our garden are now displaying their flowers.

However if we drive half an hour south to Kington in Herefordshire then Hergest Croft Gardens put our little show to shame with a veritable explosion of colour.

There are plenty of Bluebells in Park Wood adding to the colour.

There are also some splendid views to be had from the higher ground in Park Wood.

What’s knot to like?

Even when the petals start to drop there is still plenty of colour.

So ends a refreshing walk around just part of their 70 acres of garden.

High & Low – First Trip of 2021

High & Low – First Trip of 2021

This trip took place on 30th March 2021 and this Blog Post is obviously late and there will probably a few more posts that will also be late.

Welsh travelling rules have recently been relaxed so it was time for a day out. We weren’t going far, just 16 miles to the high ground near Newtown and although the road is a typical narrow, winding Welsh backroad it didn’t take us long. We parked in the little free car park at the start of the Kerry Ridgeway which runs for about 15 miles to Bishops Castle although we weren’t going anywhere near the distance.

This is where we stopped and shows the Knighton-Newtown road with the little car park to the right and the start of the Kerry Ridgeway path along the side of the road. The Kerry Ridgeway is one of the oldest paths in Wales probably from the time of the Bronze Age.

We started up the path and soon reached the bend where the path turns away from the road and continues uphill.

As we had started from high ground we had good views almost instantly although it was very hazy.

We walked further along the path looking for the Cross Dyke and soon found it. We couldn’t really miss it could we?

The Cross Dyke, just beyond that wooden post, crosses our path and the next picture shows the twin banks heading downhill towards Newtown and the following picture shows them running down to cross our path and join the top picture of the two below.

The Cross Dyke marks an ancient boundary long since forgotten but, rather like Offa’s Dyke, they took a lot of trouble and effort to build it.

Nearby are the Two Tumps which are Bronze Age burial mounds. There is one on the left, just poking above the far horizon, and one to the right of that, and a little further back, with the far horizon just showing over the top.

We headed further up the path as far as this viewing point which has information, hill names etc., to identify what you can see around you.

It was now time to leave the Kerry Ridgeway, as we had more to do, so we headed back down the path admiring the views on the way.

Along the path I spotted a small area of tiny flowers and there is also a daisy to give a scale. Difficult to identify precisely because there are so many different varieties but it probably is a member of the Whitlow-grass group.

We soon arrived back at the car having been serenaded by Skylarks along the way. We drove towards Knighton for no more than a half-mile and parked in a large layby next to a landscape feature know as ‘The Ring’.

The Ring is a geographical feature caused by the River Teme eroding the bank and causing the higher ground to collapse and then the collapsed soil to be washed away. This picture was taken from road level on a previous occasion and the river is partly in flood producing this waterfall.

On this trip it was relatively dry with little water flowing.

This is the Ring itself. It’s called ‘The Ring’ because it is shaped like a large semi-circular amphitheatre.

We decided that we needed to climb down to look more closely at the waterfall which was at the bottom. It is not safe to climb down just anywhere because the sides are generally far too steep. So we had to visually plot a route down and then set off. The route we followed proved to be quite easy and it didn’t take us long to reach the river.

There was just a trickle of water over the waterfall, which is a pity, so we shall, perhaps, have to try again sometime when it is a bit wetter.

This is the River Teme, the same River Teme that flows through Knighton, heading off from the waterfall down the valley towards Knighton and we now hope to do the same. All we have to do is get back up to the road. We did that without incident, although slower than coming down.

The end of our short, but interesting, trip.

Kington Kaleidoscope.

Kington Kaleidoscope.

We went to Hergest Croft Gardens again recently to see how the autumn colours were progressing and to say that we were blown away, if I might use the vernacular, would be an understatement. The colours were astonishing!

Having looked around the main gardens we walked across ‘The Park’ to ‘Park Wood’, both of which are parts of the Hergest Croft Estate, and we went as far as the Pond. I’ll leave you to be the judge of these scenes.

And now we see Amanda in a blue jacket and red trousers with matching tree.

Having walked on the path around the pond, and its upper valley, we were walking back towards the Pond when we saw this.

We haven’t seen anything like it before. It was a series of trunks arranged in a circle around a central trunk and the trunk material looked to be the consistency of cucumber; nothing like wood. The growth at the top of each trunk was something like feathery leaves. The trunks have obviously been deliberately cut back as part of some sort of maintenance. I’m hoping that someone from Hergest Croft will see this and tell us what it is.

( Hergest Croft later told us that it is a Gunnera i.e. Giant Rhubarb.)

Personally I think that it is a Triffid.

We then left Park Wood and walked back across The Park, which looked lovely in the sunshine, towards the main garden.

Having got back to the main garden we saw, on the ground, a lot of large leaves from a nearby vine of some sort and I have deliberately included my boot to give an idea of scale.

Well that was a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting visit. They haven’t seen the last of us yet!