Royal Oak

Thurs. 25 May: a visit to Boscobel House. It’s where King Charles I hid in the oak tree in 1651. The oak’s no longer with us, but a descendent is there for visiting. It’s looking decidedly tired, though beside it stands its successor, grown from one of its acorns and planted there 350 years later by the chap who may one day be King Charles III. We have to bide our time outdoors, until a guided tour has finished, and then we can explore this interesting old house.

Boscobel House (English Heritage)

Attingham indoors

Fri. 19 May: can’t remember when we last looked around the house at Attingham. Have we ever?

Attingham Park NT

Dudmaston: mostly floral

Tues. 9 May: a short outing to Dudmaston, near Bridgnorth. We’ll have a look around the house (no photography), then wander down through the gardens and around the lake. The rhododendrons are coming into flower, and the Canada geese have young (skulking in the long grass) so they’re keeping an eye on us.

Dudmaston NT

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Fruit and nut

Mon 24 April: we’re heading north, towards an overnight stay in Glen Devon. We’re slightly ahead of schedule – let’s have a look at this pineapple thing… It’s quite startling, and definitely strange – a huge carved stone pineapple, at the head of a walled garden not far from the south bank of the Forth, a few miles east of Stirling. Other than the pineapple, and the walls (three of them), and a little pool, there’s nothing else and no-one else there. (There are further grounds to explore, but on this day of sunshine and snow showers, it’s too cold to hang around for long)

The Pineapple NT Scotland

Shugborough snaps

A first visit to the Staffordshire estate, former residence of a certain late well-known photographer. I’d better do my best today, but they’re only snapshots of a brief visit. There’s too much to see in a single afternoon – we’d better come again, perhaps mid-week when it might be quieter…

Shugborough Estate NT

Walled garden, snowdrops, deer

Attingham Park, in other words – walking out through the walled garden and the snowdrop woods, then around the perimeter of the park, along the path which passes through the deer sanctuary. Those in charge are keeping a wary eye on us, though they don’t seem worried.

Attingham Park NT

Monty

The sun was already low in the sky as we walked along the short path to Montgomery castle. It’s a good place for a cold afternoon – there’s no wind but it will be frosty when the sun gets lower. We’re soon warmed up again in the Ivy House – tea and Welsh cakes. An enjoyable outing!

Montgomery Castle CADW

Pumpkin time

We’re having a wander around Attingham Park. It’s dry and bright this afternoon (though breezy and chilly), and there’s a wonderful crop of pumpkins (some of them bearing messages) in the walled garden. There’s a rather fine colony of little pale toadstools on a stump in the woods, not to mention a large wooden frog.

Attingham Park NT

Acorn Bank

22 August: we’re heading north, and need a lunch break. Instead of motorway services, we take the Appleby road at Tebay, then the A66 to Temple Sowerby, for Acorn Bank gardens – and a light lunch, well away from the M6. Acorn Bank was home to poet Dorothy Una Ratcliffe, whose name is familiar to me – though I’ve no idea why.

Acorn Bank NT

The Walled Garden

Too warm for anything very energetic… A wander around Attingham Park, focusing on the colour in the walled garden.

Attingham Park NT

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