Category: Historic landscapes


We took a mother’s Day trip out to this super National Trust Hall and Farm in Cambridgeshire. I loved the parterre with it’s combinations of Box and Euonymous and the Folly tower with some wonderful skeletal trees…

Save

Ingra Tor, Dartmoor...a favourite place

Ingra Tor, Dartmoor…a favourite place, visited recently

WP_20160606_12_23_13_ProWe had a delightful trip to the west of Norfolk a month or two back; to the splendid medieval ruins of Castle Rising with its massive mounded enclosure and monumental masonry.

Equally fascinating was the village next door, where the old ‘hospital’ (almshouses) had a fantastic garden (including a large clipped box seat) and the Norman church featured some beautiful decoration.

A cricket match was underway in the adjoining field …the epitome of English country life (of old)! The sun shone, we strolled, and then took coffee in a great little cafe, where we also found a novel use for a redundant telephone box- a local lending library!

We shall definitely be back. The castle’s website says:

‘Castle Rising Castle is one of the most famous 12th Century castles in England. The stone keep, built in around 1140 AD, is amongst the finest surviving examples of its kind anywhere in the country and, together with the massive surrounding earthworks, ensures that Rising is a castle of national importance. In its time Rising has served as a hunting lodge, royal residence, and for a brief time in the 18th century even housed a mental patient.

The most famous period in its history was when it came to the mother of Edward III, Queen Isabella, following her part in the murder of her husband Edward II. The castle passed to the Howard family in 1544 and it remains in their hands today, the current owner being a descendant of William D’Albini II, the norman baron who raised the castle.’

Further information:

Castle website

English Heritage website

 

Lancelot Brown by Nathanial Dance, photo by dcoetzee

Lancelot Brown by Nathanial Dance, photo by dcoetzee

Throughout 2016 the work of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown will be marked with a festival of events celebrating his life, work and legacy – 300 years on from his birth.

Brown’s rich legacy of work ranges form Highclere Castle, the fictional home of ‘Downton Abbey’ to the well-known estates of Chatsworth, Blenheim and Stowe, to hidden gems such as Milton Abbey, Weston Park and Compton Verney. In 2016, there will be a range of events for everyone to enjoy – from the most ardent of fans, to those that know nothing of his work but simply enjoy stunning landscapes.

Some highlights include the opportunity to tour the grounds of Belvoir Castle, where a lost Brown design was recently rediscovered and implemented; his first and last known commissions; his longest commission; and some of his crowning achievements. The Capability Brown Festival 2016 has been funded by a £911,100 grant from the Heritage lottery Fund, and is managed by The Landscape Institute. Festival director Ceryl Evans said:

‘Brown’s work was groundbreaking. He blended art and engineering, and moved mountains of earth and villages, to create beautiful naturalistic landscapes which are still much admired today, 300 years after his birth.’

Brown's original plan for Blenheim

Brown’s original plan for Blenheim

A prolific landscape architect, Brown is associated with more than 250 sites across England and Wales, with many more parks and gardens around the world inspired by his work.

Audley End, Essex

Audley End, Essex

Capability Brown is a name well-known in gardening and landscaping circles, but among the general public his work and influence is less well-known. The Festival aims to address that gap as many of our best loved country houses are set as jewels in the wonderful landscapes he created, but often we recognise them for their architecture but sideline what makes them even more splendid –  their amazingly landscaped and seemingly natural settings.

Three centuries after Brown’s birth, the Festival presents a unique opportunity to take a fresh look at how the father of landscape architecture shaped the nation’s countryside.

Blenheim Palace Grand Bridge by Boddah at English Wikipedia

Blenheim Palace Grand Bridge by Boddah at English Wikipedia

Source: Landscape and Amenity Magazine, December 2015

Further information:

The Capability Brown Festival

Wikipedia- Capability Brown

Old School Gardener

 

WP_20150910_12_46_17_ProOur recent stay in Northumberland featured a boat trip to the Farne Islands.The National Trust says:

‘The Farne Islands are possibly the most exciting seabird colony in England with unrivalled views of 23 species, including around 37,000 pairs of puffin.

It’s also home to a large grey seal colony, with more than 1,000 pups born every autumn.

Historically, the islands have strong links with Celtic Christianity and St Cuthbert, who lived here in the 7th Century.

There’s also a medieval pele tower and Victorian lighthouse here, plus a visitor centre and easy access boardwalk.

Many of the islands hide underwater at high tide…’

 

We loved to see the birds and seals of the islands and to visit the main island to explore St. Cuthbert’s Chapel with it’s memorial to Grace Darling.

This young girl shot to fame nearly 200 years ago as she and her father helped to rescue survivors from a shipwreck. As the Grace Darling website says:

‘Grace was born on 24th November 1815 at Bamburgh, Northumberland and spent her youth in two lighthouses (Brownsman and Longstone) where her father, William, was the keeper. In the early hours of the 7th September 1838, Grace, looking out from an upstairs window of the Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands, spotted the wreck and survivors of the Forfarshire on Big Harcar, a low rocky outcrop. The Forfarshire had foundered on the rocks and broken in half; one of the halves had sunk during the night.  Amidst tempestuous waves and gale force winds there followed an amazing rescue of the survivors.  Grace’s life would never be the same.’

November 24th will be the 200th anniversary of Grace’s birth.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I also loved seeing the cliffs where bird nests can be seen up close. Unfortunately the main nesting season had passed so we weren’t able to see puffins and other birds who had moved on to new homes for the winter, but it was, nonetheless a great trip.

Old School Gardener

Part of the Abbey ruins at Walsingham, Norfolk; at the end of an eight mile charity 'walk with a fork' event.

Part of the Abbey ruins at Walsingham, Norfolk; at the end of an eight mile charity ‘walk with a fork’event.

Cattle on the hill near Walsingham Abbey, Norfolk, taken on a recent charity 'Walk with a Fork' event.

Cattle on the hill near Walsingham Abbey, Norfolk, taken on a recent charity ‘Walk with a Fork’ event.

Picture by Loving Dartmoor

Picture by Loving Dartmoor

WP_20150814_16_59_40_ProOur trip north to Coimbra in Portugal meant that apart from looking into that ancient capital, we could stop off at a few places to and from it. I’ve already shared my experiences of the roman capital, Conimbriga, which we toured on our way back to Lisbon. But we also had time to visit the equally interesting town of Tomar, further south in the area of the Beiras.

After finding our way through the crowded streets to a convenient car park, we made the ascent to the ancient Convento Cristo- one more World Heritage Site, closely associated with the Knights Templar (of crusade fame, or is it infamy?) as well as the Jesuits who also made this place their HQ a few hundred years later. This was an impressive place, rugged and without much greenery apart from an impressive box parterre in one of the cloisters. Outside, its massive castle-like hulk looms over the town.

After our visit we headed back down for an afternoon tea and cake (as usual) and watched children chasing pigeons in the town square. We had a few minutes to spare before we needed to leave so we hunted down what the guide book described as a very interesting Synagogue. It turned out to be a delightful find- and also free to enter!

We were greeted by a young, chatty lady who was delighted to speak to us in English about this medieval place- the oldest in Portugal. She spoke of horrific tales of persecution her forbears suffered here- including two jews burned alive a few hundred years ago. She herself and an older volunteer also shared more recent tales of having to keep their religion secret; once more for fear of persecution. But today the synagogue is one of the area’s most attractive places to visit, all run on good will, donations and loans, including an impressive piece of religious furniture from London. They were keen for us to sign their visitors book and we could see that many more people, of many different nationalities, had visited that day.

WP_20150814_17_49_35_ProThey were obviously proud of their heritage and we were privileged to share it with them.

WP_20150814_13_52_49_ProAs you may have picked up, I’ve been in Portugal again  recently. As well as visiting some old favourites, we ventured north to the old capital of the country, Coimbra (more on this in later posts), and on our way back to Lisbon stopped off at a wonderful historical site called Conimbriga. This site, a few miles south of Coimbra, was the Romans’ capital while they were here in Portugal, some two millenia ago.

OK, I know that this blog is supposed to be about gardens and gardening. But I occasionally feature something that is only loosely connected (if at all), just to add a bit of variety. And in truth, there is a link to gardening here, as you’ll see later.

This extensive site displays the bones of an important Roman settlement and includes some sensitive reconstruction to help you get the scale and proportions of the place- the recreation of the Forum is particularly impressive.

And the other immediately remarkable thing is the wealth of mosaic floors on show, some open to the air, others carefully protected under a large sheltering canopy.

But the really noteworthy feature- well I think so- is the re-creation of the Fountain Gardens, including (for 50 cents a go) the chance to see the way the fountains might have embellished this calm, sheltered space set amid the bustle of the wider settlement.

After touring the open site, it was something of a relief (from the sun) to get inside the nearby Museum, which helps add further interpretation to the site and houses a range of beautiful artefacts discovered here.

Old School Gardener

 

SISSINGHURST GARDEN

Notes from the Gardeners...

Deep Green Permaculture

Connecting People to Nature, Empowering People to Live Sustainably

BloominBootiful

A girl and her garden :)

gwenniesworld

ABOUT MY GARDEN, MY TRAVELS AND ART

Salt of Portugal

all that is glorious about Portugal

The Ramblings of an Aspiring Small Town Girl

Cooking, gardening, fishing, living, laughing.

aristonorganic

"The Best of the Best"

PetalPushin

Thoughts from a professional Petal Pusher

Free Spirit Publishing Blog

An idea exchange for kids' education

GarryRogers Nature Conservation

Wild Plants & Animals Advocate

Focused Moments

Photography by RACHAEL TALIBART

Lightning Droplets

Little flecks of inspiration and creativity

crabandfish garden

This WordPress.com site is our garden, cats, chickens and travel musings

breathofgreenair

mindfulness, relaxation, thought provoking images and poems

Vastrap Farm

My new life as a farm wife

C.B. Wentworth

Just following my muse . . .

~ Goat Track Photography ~

Ian G. Fraser, Brisbane, Australia

Noisy Pilgrims

Incredible Photography from India

%d bloggers like this: