From the Cotswolds, I now
head west through Buckinghamshire towards Wales.
30/5 No sun, but at least,
it does not rain,
and it is not that cold. I start the day's program with the little
village of Chipping Campden. I enter the village from a back-road,
and immediately, I have to find a place to ditch the car. Here are
just two lines of magnificent houses.
They are all old, well maintained but not really that alike each other. Common is
the the stones which have been used, and the abundance of flowering
plants around and on them. I pass the creek and end up in the
square. Here, the old covered marked is still in place, although
empty. The houses in the centre have less flowers in front of them,
but are still real nice.
I find the local Noel Arms Inn to use their internet, and just as a courtesy,
I have a pot of tea and a chocolate Tiffin - which is great! I get
updated on the world, as well as updating it on my adventures. It
take quite some time to upload, but the lack of sun have a relaxing
influence on me.
its cathedral and docks are next. It is a rather large city, but it
is a bank holyday, and it is quite empty. I park at the docks, and
walk through the centre of town, to the huge cathedral. Besides from
the main room, several pathways leads around it, and they are
fantastic work of stone carvings and tinted glass.
Several of the leading class have been buried here through time, but
only in rather simple tombs. I had expected a bit more like the
church next to my home, with all the royals. Anyway, it is a
As I walk back through the pedestrian streets, I try to capture the
diversity of the buildings. Some look fantastic, some ought to be
knocked over. Same goes for the areas right in back. And some are
actually being knocked down.
I don't get the
fuss about the docks at all. Here are some restored old warehouses,
but many have been replaced with modern trash-buildings. The few
houseboats in the canals
look interesting and old, and so do the
buildings right outside the area - although they are falling apart
by them self.
While I walk through one of the shopping areas, I finally find the
light, stainless steel bowl I've been looking for, to my
vegetable-dinners. Just the size to fit a bag of sliced, mixed
vegetables. It is in the pet-department, and it does have
pore-impressions on the side, but it is the best I have found.
A bit outside of town, Painswick
and especially the Rococo Garden sounds interesting.
Early 17th century style, which should have "pavilions, fountains
and staircases created in the most bizarre and extravagant forms
fueled a fleeting craze". For the second time to day, I completely
fail to grasp the "greatness".
To me, it look like an average park with a few, simple buildings, a nice
kitchen garden and some walkways in the forest. Despite searching
along all the trails, nothing of real interest shows up.
An empty pigeon house, a pond, a maze, a tiny exedra garden and a
bench scattered around does not make it a Rococo garden in my book.
The village should be nice, and I give it a go. Well, if it was the
first English village have visited, I would probably have been
do the loop, and head on.
National trust have a Dutch Watergarden in Westbury, and it is just on the other side of
Gloucester. I see most of it, walking from the carpark to the
entrance, but it does look different. Long, square ponds with square
hedges and topiary along with a few beds with flowering plants. It was
created in 1696, and is now brought back to its original state. One of the
squares is with spices and kitchen garden plants.
It is nice, but I am mainly amused by the old Holm Oak; Quercus ilex
from 1580. The entire garden is fast to go through, and I'm a bit
anxious to where to sleep,
and especially get a morning shower. I
ask the nice guy in the entrance, and he give me a map, showing a
campsite a few kilometres away. They do not have a sign at the
bigger road, and I actually passed it. Most have left after the long
weekend, and I can easily fit in.
I make the usual slideshows, then, I'm
kind of finish, and it is only eight - several hours earlier then
all other evenings? Well, I can plan the coming days. I did miss
one sight this morning, and that causes for a small detour back.
While going through the National Trust's book, I have to add ten
sights in Wales. If just the weather cooperates...
31/5 The sun awakes me at
seven, and pretty soon,
I'm on my way to Ledbury. The plan was actually to go back and see
the ruin at Uley, but that meant to go back through Gloucester, and
I don't bother in the morning jam. Instead, I enter Herefordshire.
Ledbury should be a nice, old town, and some might agree. It was a
large town 500 years ago, and some of the fine, old buildings
remains in the centre. The butter and poultry marked from 1617 is a
bit special: It is covered by the grain storage, build 50 years
later. I do the streets and back alleys, but fail to find some tea.
Not as touristed as they use to be, I guess.
From here, it is through the open landscape with more green hills
and an old sandstone
bridge next to the remains of Goodrich Castle.
Then the Forest of Dean starts. It is the oldest oak forest in
Britain, and I'm here to see the huge trees. I drive through the
area several times, once following the Scenic Drive, but the biggest
trees I see is less than one meter in diameter. I do a few strolls
within the oak forest: Nice, but not really the goal.
Next up is
within Forest of Dean. It is an Roman open-cast mine, overgrown with
mosses, ferns and ole eerie trees. The area is a huge maze, some
pathways ending in a deep pit. Lots of movies have been
made here, like Dr. Who, Merlin and Harry Potter.
Despite the lack of light, I desperately try and capture the
atmosphere. It is a special feeling, walking around here, and the
thick mosses and different ferns are interesting. Some pencil-thick
twigs are five centimetres thick with mosses. The exposed roods of
the trees look more alive than just roots.
I figure I better
finish England for this time with another slideshow called
Oxford and Cotsworlds. And a slideshow
with the best from the western part.
From here, the tour
continues into Wales.
(and back to England)