Showing posts with label this is england. Show all posts
Showing posts with label this is england. Show all posts

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

National Treasures: Winkworth Arboretum

Created in the early 20th century by Dr Wilfrid Fox, this hillside arboretum has now been maintained by the National Trust for 60 years and has built up an internationally significant collection of more than 1,000 different species of shrubs and trees, many of them rare.

We were very impressed by the sheer size of the trees to be seen, they were majestic. I can't wait to see them in all their autumn finery, that must be spectacular!

Winkworth Arboretum exhibits large collections of azalea, rhododendron, and holly on slopes leading down to landscaped garden lakes.

We could see the lake but alas, couldn't get there because of, you know, the shoe thing, and couldn't even use the viewing platform as it was being repaired.

Gertrude Jekyll explored the woods in the early 20th century and the exotic trees were planted from 1938 by Wilfrid Fox.

There was a memorial to Dr Fox, but we didn't see it this time but do plan to go back again next month, better prepared.

There are three walks offered At Winkworth, one is access for all, which is marked blue and is the one we ended up on, after the shoe episode. There are no steps and it's approximately 1km long.

There is then a yellow walk, which covers 1.6km and involves steps, which is where I came a cropper. We then abandoned it in favour of the blue walk as walking was difficult with a heel coming off my shoe. My dodgy balance makes stairs a challenge enough anyway, without added complications.

The third walk was marked red, and covers 3.6km and features steep steps.
The minute I saw the word steep, I was adamant that I wasn't doing that particular walk. 

The views were spectacular.

Despite the glorious weather the day before, this day was a lot cooler, to the point that I needed a jacket.

No, contrary to what Andy said, I was not breaking into Mud's 'Tiger Feet' dance, I was straightening my belt.

"All night long, you've been looking at me,
Well you know you're the dance hall cutie that you love to be

Yes, I was the most vibrantly dressed visitor, brighter than the children by far and was indeed wearing the most impractical shoes imaginable! But, they're all I had. My ballet flats have a huge hole in the sole. Still. And looking at the ground as we walked, I knew they would have been useless, I may as well have not worn shoes had I gone with those.

It's a beauty of a place and we shall return in July and then again in the autumn, to see the autumn colours and probably again in the winter too. And if we continue our membership, again come spring! Cherry blossom and bluebells? Yes please!

Saturday, 10 June 2017

National Treasures: Hinton Ampner Pt III

I'm back with more Hinton Ampner goodness, this time, the gardens!

Hinton Ampner, near Alresford, Hampshire, SO24 0LA

Part One can be found here, from when we first went in January, with a little of the gardens and entrance hall, with a potted history of the place.
Part two can be found here, focusing on the interior.

It seems bizarre that the first time we went, we missed all of this!

I don't know if these two were always there, or were 1930's additions.

 Lovely views down from the veranda.


I equally love rambling cottage style gardens, to formal ones.
I long to run up and down avenues of topiary, in Georgian dresses, being chased
by a man in uniform.
*plots to get Andy in a Georgian Naval uniform*

I love this statue.

And I love a bit of wisteria too.


You can sit here and look back at the house and lily pond.

 Tulips were everywhere. So pretty.

It's that statue again ...

Hello Mr Pheasant, how are you?

Our picnic spot.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

The Day We Saw All The Wildlife

On the Whitsun holiday, we decided to revisit a local National Trust property, Hinton Ampner, to see the bluebells and the actual house, as last time, we missed half the gardens and the house wasn't properly open.

We drove merrily along and took the turn through the gates, pootled down a small piece of drive, took a left and oh my word! "Abort! Abort! Abort!" cried I, horror on my face! The carpark was obviously full as cars were lining the drive on both sides! Hinton Ampner isn't that big a house and cars were still pouring in behind us. It would have been awfully crowded. Andy turned around and we fled*, tempted to wind down the windows and warn other cars: "Turn back! Turn back before it's too late!"

But we didn't and on we drove.

And drove.
And drove.
Goodness I was fed up (and travel sick) by the time we stopped driving through the lanes and came to a halt at a pretty view where we opened up the picnic.

We sat there for a while watching the birds (I think I saw a lesser whitethroat, but a man asking directions scared it off before I could get a picture) and the St Marks flies which were swarming, when Andy spotted a, and I quote, HUGE BUZZARD on a dung heap through some binoculars. I got my camera out and looked through and it looked suspiciously like a rook. Turns out it was a rook. Classic example of having no frame of reference size wise.

Anyway, as I looked at the picture on my camera, I saw another bird, blurred at the edges in flight was also in the picture! As I saw this, at the exact same time, Andy had also spotted this exotic bird.  You can see it just off centre in the photo below.
You have to appreciate how far away we were and that I had used full zoom in every single one of these shots. I believe my camera has 80 x zoom.

Cue endless attempts at photographing the thing, as it swooped and beggared about catching insects.

Finally I got a picture. It was hazy as I was of course at maximum zoom on my camera and we saw the bird was very fancy pants, with a crest and everything! Wow! What exotic bird was this???? It looked suspiciously like a cockatiel. 
Yes, that is it right in the middle.

We were very excited and somehow despite being in the middle of nowhere I could use my phone to search for what it was. We moved the car closer and sat in front of a gate to the field and the bird, who was now two birds, honoured us by coming closer to have a bathe in a puddle.

Finally we got a good look and I managed to identify them. The RSPB website stated: This familiar farmland bird ... well it wasn't familiar to us! We don't often hang around farms. Anyway, they were lapwings, also known as peewits and they are beauties!

And then things just got better *cough* Two as before unseen birds and then Andy spotted something else. Birds with red on them, lined up on fence posts! Three of them! I got out of the car and took a picture. Wood pigeons, hehe! Five to be exact, all sat on fence posts. Not so exotic but I love it when birds line up neatly.

Then things really did get better. Andy, again with the binoculars, spotted something in a far field. "Hare!" he exclaimed. I couldn't look fast enough and sure enough, gallumping along, a hare! I was ridiculously excited. I got a bit emotional if I'm honest. We watched as it moved to the left and lo and behold there was another one!

Turns out in one of my pigeon pictures, there was a hare in the background! I didn't even see it, I was trying to focus my attentions on the exotic wood pigeons!

We watched the hares until they had gone and then I had to wait for what seemed an eternity for Andy to come back to the car, as he was again obsessively looking through the binoculars at the dogs on walks with their mums and dads. It started raining and still he didn't move! It took the skies opening before he came back to the car and we could head home.

* We have of course, since been back to Hinton Ampner

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

National Treasures: Hinton Ampner Pt II

Hinton Ampner, near Alresford, Hampshire, SO24 0LA

Part One can be found here, from when we first went in January, with a little of the gardens and entrance hall, with a potted history of the place.

In May we returned, hoping to see bluebells. It was our second attempt at getting back there.
Hinton Ampner is our second nearest property.

I was very intrigued to see the interior of the house, especially considering the fire in the sixties and how it was restored back to how it would have looked in the mid 1930's. That's a hint to what lies inside by the way by the way.

I must say, this house is right up there with Polesden Lacey for me, I loved it! It's not a teeny house at all, but it's small enough to be very comfortable. This room particularly, isn't it beautiful! I think it's the colours which really set it apart. It's grand, but oh so elegant, I can just imagine being curled up on a sofa in front of a fire, reading a book. 

Many, many items in the house were made of blue john which is a type of fluorite.

Room two, which was more what I expect from stately homes, all the rich colours.

Dining room.

This extraordinarily art deco looking piece of furniture is in fact, Georgian.

Bathroom number one!
Art deco heaven.
Isn't it a beauty! One of the volunteers said that many people just don't like this room at all.
Why? I fell for it soon as peer through the door.

Look at the skylights!
The mirror and sink!
That little alcove off at the back is where the toilet is, with the best view of the gardens apparently!

That wallpaper!

The taps!


We were told at least four hands were responsible for the patchwork quilt on the bed.

Another bedroom

Another beauty of a bathroom.

Another bedroom, this was my favourite.

Oh look! Another bathroom!

Bizarre rabbits in a painting.
I think though, that they might be bizarre hares, considering there are tortoises also.
Oh hang on though, there are lions too, is this a depiction of Noah's Ark?
I wish I'd taken better notice now!

But if they are bunnies, surely this is what bunnies look like?
It's Bob!

I have a follow up post ready to go, featuring the beautiful gardens.
So, so pretty.