Coughton Court, Alcester, Warwickshire

Coughton Court is an imposing Tudor house set in beautiful gardens with a collection of Catholic treasures.

The Coughton estate has been owned by the Throckmorton family since 1409. Coughton was rebuilt by Sir George Throckmorton, the first son of Sir Robert Throckmorton of Coughton Court by Catherine Marrow, daughter of William Marrow of London. Throckmorton would become notorious due to his almost fatal involvement in the divorce between King Henry and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Throckmorton favoured the queen and was against the Reformation. 

After Throckmorton’s death in 1552, Coughton passed to his eldest son, Robert Throckmorton and his family, who were practicing Catholics. The house at one time contained a priest hole, a hiding place for priests during the period when Catholics were persecuted by law in England, from the beginning of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The Hall also holds a place in English history for its roles in both the Throckmorton Plot of 1583 to murder Queen Elizabeth I of England, and the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, although the Throckmorton family were themselves only indirectly implicated in the latter, when some of the Gunpowder conspirators rode directly there after its discovery.

 

Coughton Court – photos of the front and back of the house.DSC00406

DSC00403

Up in the tower.DSC00399DSC00401DSC00402

There are two churches in the grounds – here’s the interior of the catholic church.DSC00405

The house has been in the ownership of the National Trust since 1946.

We were fortunate to hear a talk about the Gunpowder plot given by one of the volunteers, who bought it all to life; and also to talk to an ancestor of one of the plotting team who had been hanged, drawn and quartered for his involvement.

Malvern Hills: an end to end walk

On Tuesday I walked the the Malvern hills end to end with my lovely walking group. It was almost 11 miles of undulating loveliness 🙂

The weather was perfect for this type of walk – cloudy at the start but clearing as the day went on.  We started at North Hill, and walked all the way to Chase End, where we had handily left two cars so we didn’t have to walk all the way back – although one member of our group did, mad fellow that he is 😉

A long walk ahead

One of the many fields of bluebells we saw.

At the top of the final hill, and we all look so fresh still 🙂

 

 

 

 

Walking up North Hill, Malvern

A lovely September day, perfect for a walk up the Malverns.

We chose North Hill, the second highest hill of all the hills.

The hills run north/south for about 13 km (8 miles), in between Great Malvern and the village of Colwall, and overlook the River Severn valley to the east, with the Cotswolds beyond. The highest point of the hills is the Worcestershire Beacon at 425 metres (1,394 ft) above sea level.

But first things first: Mr Watch It Wilkes pointing out the dangerous sheer drops on the way up:

wp_20160918_002

And in a more relaxed mode now he has stepped away from the edge.wp_20160918_001

Getting close to the top now:wp_20160918_003

And views from the top of North Hill:

wp_20160918_004

wp_20160918_005

wp_20160918_006

wp_20160918_007

Weston Super Mare

A walk along the sea front, and a fall on the slippy marine lake bridge. Luckily it was only my pride that was hurt!

The slogan on Gary’s t-shirt lures me into a false sense of security regarding the surface and safety of the bridge…. wp_20160804_004

Note the wet parts of the path, halfway across.  There is algae on the path. Algae is slippery, as I found out the hard way.wp_20160804_001

There followed an enjoyable walk along the wide esplanade, which, being soaking wet, I was in no mood to photograph. Sorry.

Burnham on Sea

In July we stayed in a delightful chalet bungalow in Burnham on Sea for a week.  Set in a residential area, the bungalow was just a couple of minutes walk from the sea front.

Burnham on Sea is probably quite typical of a lot of British seaside towns these days – quite run down, with a town centre filled with poundshops, tatty pubs and junk food offerings.

Our accommodation, a home called Dunlin,  was great though – newly refurbished, with a hot tub in the garden 🙂

dunlin

The downstairs bedroom.dunlin-bed

The second bedroom, upstairs – Alex and Jane stayed in here for a few days.wp_20160729_001

The garden bench in the secluded garden – perfect for sitting and reading.wp_20160730_002

The garden was small but perfectly formed!

wp_20160730_003

Enjoying a soak in the hot tub.wp_20160730_004

Dunster Castle, Somerset

Dunster Castle is a former motte and bailey castle, now a country house, in the village of Dunster, Somerset, England. The castle lies on the top of a steep hill called the Tor, and has been fortified since the late Anglo-Saxon period.

wp_20160731_001

Trying on hats in the hat room….well, why not?!wp_20160731_003

wp_20160731_005

Watch it, Wilkes!

Views from the outside of the castle. It’s quite a steep walk up to the castle from Dunster village.wp_20160731_009wp_20160731_010

wp_20160731_011

Around the castle.wp_20160731_012wp_20160731_013

Hanbury Hall, Bromsgrove

Visited: March 2016

Hanbury Hall is a large stately home, built in the early 18th century, standing in parkland at Hanbury, Worcestershire. The main range has two storeys and is built of red brick in the Queen Anne style. It is a Grade I listed building and is maintained by the National Trust.

The gardens – sparse at this time of year.

wp_20160221_004

The Ice House in the grounds.

wp_20160221_008

 

wp_20160221_009

 

DANGER! DANGER!  Watch it Wilkes in action. wp_20160221_012

wp_20160221_014

 

One of the ceiling paintings in the main hall.

wp_20160221_016

The staircase walls are covered by paintings.

wp_20160221_017

wp_20160221_018

 

Winter Walk around the Warndon Villages

There are so many different places to explore in and around the Warndon Villages – from the Worcester and Nunnery Woods to the south, the Warndon Woodlands and New Plantation woods to the east, to the Worcester and Birmingham Canal to the north. But this is one of my favourite walks – a 4 mile circular walk around the villages. As you can see,  it was a beautiful day 🙂  I’ll do the walk again in summer, and you’ll be able to see a difference when the trees are green and the bushes are growing.

STEPPING OUT FROM THE END OF OUR ROAD AND ONTO THE FOOTPATH TOWARDS THE LYPPARD GRANGE.

WP_20160215_001

TURNING RIGHT TOWARDS TROTSHILL LANE.

WP_20160215_003

WALKING PAST THE TOP OF TROTSHILL LANE…

WP_20160215_004

…AND TOWARDS THE WARNDON WOODS. the woods stretch almost 2 miles ALONGSIDE the warndon villages.

WP_20160215_006

THE WOODLANDS ARE SANDWICHED BETWEEN HOUSES ON THE LEFT AND AN A-ROAD ON THE RIGHT.  SURPRISINGLY THOUGH, IT’S VERY QUIET AND PEACEFUL!

WP_20160215_009

ACROSS PLANTATION DRIVE INTO THE NEW PLANTATION.

WP_20160215_010

WALKING TOWARDS SAINT NICHOLAS CHURCH.

WP_20160215_013

REACHING THE TOP OF ST NICHOLAS LANE – BY JUNCTION 6 OF THE M5.

WP_20160215_014

THE TOP OF ST NICHOLAS LANE – NOW OVERGROWN AND USED ONLY BY WALKERS AND CYCLISTS.

WP_20160215_016

ST NICHOLAS CHURCH

WP_20160215_018

ST NICHOLAS CHURCH

WP_20160215_020

ST NICHOLAS LANE – BACK TOWARDS THE WARNDON VILLAGES.

WP_20160215_023

BACK TO THE WARNDON VILLAGES: THE ONLY PART OF THE WALK THAT GOES BY A ROAD. HEADING BACK HOME NOW.

WP_20160215_024

THE WOODGREEN EVANGELICAL CHURCH – KNOWN LOCALLY AS “THE WINDSURFER’S CHURCH” BECAUSE OF THE unusually shaped SPIRE.

WP_20160215_027

AND BACK INTO THE WARNDON WOODS.

WP_20160215_028

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE NEW PLANTATION.

WP_20160215_030

I WAS ON MY OWN FOR THIS WALK, AND LUCKILY MANAGED TO SPOT ALL THE DANGERS MYSELF WITHOUT THE AID OF “WATCH IT” WILKES.  HERE’S ONE I’M SURE HE WOULD HAVE POINTED OUT – A DEEP WATER POND AT THE TOP OF TROTSHILL LANE.

WP_20160215_035

CLOSE TO HOME NOW, HEADING BACK TOWARDS THE LYPPARD GRANGE.

WP_20160215_037

AND DOWN THE HILL TO HOME 🙂

WP_20160215_038