Monday was an amazing day for February – clear sky, sunny and mild – just like an early spring day.

We started with ‘earth’ by visiting a derelict garden, near Brentwood in Essex, which is being partly restored and partly being turned into a wildlife reserve.

Lots of Snowdrops.

and lots of Daffodils.

It didn’t take us more than an hour to look round the garden and we set off for ‘heaven’ in the form of Waltham Abbey.

Waltham Abbey is a small town between Epping Forest and the outer edge of London. The current church was originally part of an abbey which was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1540. The original abbey church was three times the size of the current one and the current structure is mostly Norman.

The tower can be seen here behind the 16th century Welsh Harp Inn.

This is the view from the East End. The wall with the large wheel window is actually Victorian and I don’t know what was there before or why that wall might have been rebuilt.

The tower was the only church tower built during the reign of Mary Tudor and was built to act as a buttress when the stability of the church was threatened.

This same tower can be seen from the high ground at High Beach in Epping Forest. Just above the centre line of this picture Waltham Abbey Church can just be distinguished – lit by the sun.

Inside the building it is obviously Norman.

Look at those wonderful Norman arches and that typical Norman Pillar with the helical groove decorations. The ceiling, part of which can be seen in the photograph of the Nave, is Victorian. Nonetheless it is a remarkable piece of work and a here is a close-up of that ceiling.

The Lady Chapel on the south side features a large Medieval wall painting of the Day of Judgement in remarkably good condition.

Not a bad trip for a February day.