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Thursday, 18 August 2016

Windsor Castle and Stonehenge

Windsor Castle












 Salisbury 





Below, Arundells the home of Sir Edward Heath (Prime Minister 1970-1974)
Looking onto Salisbury Cathedral 
 Stonehenge





 

 












We certainly chose the best week to have time off work, the weather has been great and we have got to see the most amazing places.

We can't always count on our English weather, but you know, I don't think it's been too bad this summer.  When you get days when the sun shines and you get scenery and history like this, 
what could be better? 

-X-

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Croome Court and Parkland, a National Trust visit

 Monday was a beautiful sunny day, it couldn't have been more perfect for our next National Trust adventure.  
Croome Court in Worcestershire was the former home of the 6th Earl of Coventry.
It sits in Croome Park and the views are just amazing.

As you approach you see the "London Arch" designed by Robert Adam


After showing our cards and armed with our little guide it was a lovely gentle walk though a wooded area with plenty of seating along the way to sit, have a rest or just take in the peace of it all



There is the Ice House, nestled among the trees, with its's thatched roof it looks like a little fairy-tale cottage


The first thing you come to as you emerge from the pathway is the Church of St. Mary Magdelene, although now it is redundant.  But what amazed me was the view


The hills you see on the skyline are the Malvern Hills


And there is Croome Court


The Rotunda in the park, designed by Lacelot "Capability" Brown








In the grounds is Temple Greenhouse, designed by Robert Adam









Croome Court is not like other National Trust properties, there are no great family treasures to see, the house and contents were sold in 1948, although some objects were preserved by the Estate Trust and there are plans for them to be returned to the house and there will be new displays and stores opening in November this year.  You are still able to go into the house but apart from fireplaces and a few ornate ceilings there is not a lot to see.

At the moment there is a display of tapestries in the tapestry rooms designed by Grayson Perry, they might not be everyone's cup of tea but they are very colourful and vivid.





Not really the sort of art work you would expect in a building like this are they?

But, the house and grounds still have a very interesting history.

Croome was Capability Brown's very first creation.

After the house was sold in 1948 it became a school until 1979 when it was then sold to the Hare Krishna movement and became their international headquarters and re-named Chaitanya College.

In 1984 is was sold yet again and remained empty for many years. 

One proposal was to turn the house into a hotel and the grounds into a golf course, (how tragic would that have been!!)
Thankfully the National Trdust were concerned that if this happened Capability Brown's first creation would be lost forever.  Luckily they were able to acquire the parkland in 1997 from the insurance company who owned it, along with a very generous gift.  However, Croome Court was privately owned by a property developer but the Croome Heritage Trust were able to purchase the house in 2007 by way of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and they now lease it to the National Trust.

Part of Croome Park was requisitioned  in 1941 and became RAF Defford.  All that is left standing now is the hospital block (which now is a tea room) but back in 1941 it was virtually a small village, over 2,500 people lived and worked there, it also housed up to 100 aircraft and was home to Wellington Bombers and the Telecommunications  flying unit which carried out top secret trials and radar research

It's a shame that Croome Court doesn't have the family treasures of other NT places but the interesting history and the fantastic grounds more than make up for the missing furniture and paintings.

We are so so lucky to have these historic places, the National Trust and all the volunteers do a fantastic job of preserving our heritage so that we can enjoy them today, I for one am grateful for that.

Tomorrow we are having a day at home relaxing, on Wednesday we are going to Winsdor Castle then travelling to Sailsbury and staying over-night and on Thursday we are at Stonehenge :-)

Until next time
-X-