Archives for posts with tag: adventure

After our week in the Cotwolds, we traveled to Somerset to the charming village of Mells. Situated alongside the Mells River, the village holds a rich past from Mesolithic flint workshops, Roman occupation, a Saxon village, a 16th century Manor House, wool trade in the middle ages, to more recently an Iron Works and Quarry. The Village amenities include the beautiful Talbot Inn, a lovely café attached to the Village shop and post office, the Walled Garden with it’s seasonal café, walking and cycling trails, and a general sense of serenity.

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Sheep and stone, with beautiful autumn colour.

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Green in every direction.

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The glimpse of St Andrew’s Church from the Walled Garden.

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Through the gate in this stone wall was our river-side sanctuary; the loveliest cottage.

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The Mells River ran directly alongside the patio of our cottage. The sweet and gentle sound was the first to greet me each morning. In the green space across we saw many pheasants, and the view of the stars at night in the dark village sky was spectacular.

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The stone bridge near our cottage which is one of the main roadways into the village.

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The path along the river through deciduous forest.

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A small waterfall along the riverside walk.

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An abandoned building from the old Fussells Iron Works.

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Old walls in various states of ruin are all around the area near the old Iron Works.

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A half of Guinness and some sketching on a rainy day at the Talbot Inn.

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A sweet little jam closet next to a cottage, open most days selling delicious preserves, plants and fruit. I brought home a jar of Strawberry-Rhubarb-Rose jam!

From Chipping Campden, we took a local bus to Broadway, crossing over the county line into Worcestershire, and then walked back into Gloucestershire for about an hour to our second National Trust property, Snowshill – immediately heading to the café for a cream tea to help recover from the last long hill!

Another spectacular place, filled with awe and wonder. Charles Paget Wade, architect and collector, purchased the estate just after WWI, and gave it to the National Trust a few years before he died in the early 1950s. The grounds are beautiful: simple walled decorative gardens near the manor, orchards of apples, and pasture for sheep. A tenant farmer still raises sheep on the property, and the apples from the orchard are used for delectable treats in the cafe. Next to the manor is a small priest’s house where Mr Wade lived while he filled the manor with his collections, which are vast; a passion he acquired as a small child.

The walk from Broadway was very pretty, although a bit treacherous on a narrow country road. The cream tea was calling and we persevered!

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The grounds were so lovely, with apples and flowers, a miniature harbour village, and a magical stormy sky all around.

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The collections: everything from bicycles, to musical instruments, to kitchen items, to prisoner-of-war bone carvings, to religious items, to over 2000 pieces of costume, and on and on.

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We ended the adventure with a drink just around the corner in Snowshill Village at the Snowshill Arms, before walking back to Broadway to catch a bus home.

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My first English pub experience. I had a small sherry!

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DetailChippingAs I sit in our next beautiful cottage, listening to the river just outside our door and the rain, I am thinking back to the wonderful seven days we spent in Chipping Campden. There were so many lovely details within the architecture in this picturesque town – I could post at least 50 pictures of door knockers alone!

Chipping Campden has existed since the late 12th century, but the current look of the village dates from the late 17th century when many of the wood-frame buildings were re-fronted in the honey-coloured limestone found in this part of the Cotswolds. Here are a few of the details I found most charming:

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On Friday we had a travel day, hauling too much luggage from London to Moreton-in Marsh by rail and then catching a bus to Chipping Campden. I loved Paddington Station in London. It was so easy to navigate. The journey was interesting. I was surprised by how quickly London gave way to countryside, and by how many people were on a late morning train to the Cotswolds, granted a vast majority were obvious visitors.

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We weren’t long out of London before the quintessential countryside appeared.

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The Signal Box, Moreton-in-Marsh.

We had a bit of a layover in Moreton-in-Marsh, so we found a quaint tea room called The Marshmallow and had some lunch. Willow can’t resist a scone so she had the cream tea. I went for a more savoury lunch and had the most amazing sandwich: cheddar and onion jam on whole wheat. The bread was very fresh and tasty, and the grated cheese blended so well with the onion jam to make every bite a delight. We hope to do a day trip back to Moreton-in-Marsh to explore when we aren’t loaded with luggage.

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The Marshmallow in Moreton-in-Marsh – pretty room, beautiful back garden patio, lovely service.

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Post-rail-journey lunch at The Marshmallow, Moreton-in-Marsh.

My second full week in England will be spent in the perfectly lovely village of Mells, to which we will bus from the train hub of Frome.

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The internet would have me believe Mells is idyllic, and I don’t doubt it. “One of the finest villages in England” is a quote from their website. It seems to me exactly the sort of place that will steal my heart and hold it captive forever. Mells certainly checks many of my boxes for a livable place: pretty, quaint, well organized, with a rich history, and a 25-mile walk and cycle trail – Colliers Way – right on it’s doorstep. And it’s less than four miles from the market town of Frome which has a thriving arts scene and regular market days. Other villages nearby include Coleford, Nunney (with it’s castle ruins), Whatley and Chantry. We also should try to get to Glastonbury.

During this week I will also be heading back to London for two nights to meet up with my sister, who will be in the UK at the same time. On the way back to Mells, a day in Bath is also on my agenda. Seems like a lot for a week!

For our first full week, we will be in the lovely market town of Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire.

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Yellow will be the colour featured in this week’s work, as I attempt to capture the delicate beauty of the honey-coloured limestone buildings. A hub for the arts and crafts movement, Chipping Campden is also the start of the Cotswold Way walking trail. We will take full advantage of that, visiting small towns and historical attractions, and seeking out all the tea rooms!

Day trips may include Stratford-Upon-Avon, and Sezincote House and Gardens near Moreton-in-Marsh.

Our accommodation for this week will be the first of three cottages we will enjoy on this adventure. More on that in posts from September 28–October 4.

At the beginning and the end of my big adventure I will have a few nights in London.

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I will save most of the art galleries and museums for the next UK journey. These are places GJ and I should go together. However, my London to do list does include the Victoria & Albert Museum, which has a number of very interesting exhibits on while I am there including Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up.

My travel companion told me about Dennis Severs’ House. Part theatre performance, part museum, part art gallery, it sounds like a feast for all of the senses.

One of the London experiences I am most excited about is visiting Highgate Cemetery – not to find famous graves, but for the beauty, solemnity, architecture, and grace. Perhaps I will stumble upon a relative or two.

I will be popping back up to London for two nights in the middle of the trip to rendezvous with my sister who will be briefly in London en route to Dorset. She wants to take me to Camden Market, just for fun!

And for a treat, I would love to visit The Grapes pub, perhaps on quiz night!

I would be thrilled and delighted to find Charles Adrian performing while we are there. His performance, as Ms Samantha Mann, Stories of Love, Death & A Rabbit was one of my most favourite theatre experiences.

And last but not least, I would love to visit Dorothy Circus Gallery. It shows the weird and the wondrous, and I think GJ should show there!

All London suggestions are welcome! Especially art, theatre, puppetry, vegetarian cuisine…