Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Bluebells - 6 & 7 May 2006

Thatched cottages in WherwellThe south of England is currently in the grip of a drought, after two dry winters. This has of course been great for walking, so it was somewhat of a surprise to find ourselves walking in the rain on Saturday.

Harewood Forest bluebellsWe set off from Wherwell, a beautiful Hampshire village, full of thatched cottages. The walk returned to the village via Harewood Forest. The bluebells are now out, and complimented the beech trees with their fresh foliage.

Houghton LodgeNot far away is a property nearby called Houghton Lodge. This is officially called an 'orne' which was the term for a rural retreat, when it was built at the end of the 18th century. Beware of the topiary dragonWe enjoyed the tranquil grounds alongside the Test River, and in particular the surprising topiary dragon, that puffs 'smoke' at you, when you pass by.

Rape flowers at their bestSunday was a much nicer day, and we started with a walk along one of the many chalk streams in the area. This one at Shawford (i.e. sure ford), was a very attractive walk. A second longer walk was in the vicinity of New and Old Arlesford. We were hoping to see more bluebells as the walk went through several woods, but obviously they were not the right sort of woods, instead we walked through stunning fields of rape.

Avington ParkAfter this walk, we did a tour through the grand house at Avington Park. It has been a prestigious residence with visits in the past by various royals, and today is still in beautiful condition.

No comments: