Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Random Roaming – 6 August 2011

A long weekend away from London was the plan for the weekend, with no fixed ideas of where to go. But high on our list of towns to stay in is Ludlow, on the Welsh border. To break the journey, we spent Saturday night near Gloucester.

Today's travels took us to villages on the east and west banks of the River Severn. First up was a garden at Westbury-on-Severn. Westbury Court gardens are rather special as they were left to deteriorate, when anyone of note was replacing their 18th century gardens with the latest look by Capability Brown. The gardens have been restored by the National Trust, and are a wonderful place to visit, with a real air of by-gone eras. Then onto lunch at Newent, a wonderful town, with timber buildings and a market house building on stilts.

North west took us to Kempley Church, with it's Roman arch architecture and medieval wall paintings. The next village has a medieval knight on his tomb but, unusually, he is carved from oak and further down the church are some somewhat newer relations of his, resplendent in marble, resting for all time in a private chapel.

The Malvern Hills were next and onto Upton-on-Severn This is an even bigger market town than Newent and very attractive

We ended the day at the Gloucester Docks, which have been redeveloped into apartments, cafes and an Arts and Crafts centre. Here we finally purchased a hand crafted glass bowl.

Years ago we saw a glass dish in an arts centre in Painshill. We were very taken with it, but walked away. Then at the Gloucester Cathedral floral festival, we met the artist, and he had some similar dishes for sale there. But the dish we had seen was dramatic in black and white. He had only made three of this style. One had been sold, one was in his rural studio, and one in Gloucester. During our day out, we called by the studio in a tiny rural community, far from the main roads. We arranged to meet him at The Docks at the end of the day, to make our selection from his two remaining dishes. The Docks area is worth a visit in it's own right, but we had double pleasure, as we came away with a memory to commemorate our 'Gloucester connection'.

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