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Showing posts with label national trust. Show all posts
Showing posts with label national trust. Show all posts

National Trust Glastonbury Tour...

I grew up within the gaze of the Tour.  From the top of the ancient hill, across the flat Somerset Levels I can just make out the line of hills towards my old village.  As a child we used to visit Glastonbury for supplies, on school trips to the Rural Life Museum and the Abbey ruins.  Always a memorable trip to take.

Years on I partied on those fields, under another iconic monument in the area, the Pyramid stage.  A flower child, raised and played within this small ancient place.

I hadn't taken my sons to Glastonbury before now.  Telling them of the myths and legends of King Arthur, I felt it was time to go.  On the drive down to Somerset, over the Mendips, Dan and I kept pointing out the tour, just as it would disappear behind a line of trees.  Til finally they saw it.

'Are we walking all the way up there'?

Err, yes, and they did. Like little mountain goats, running up the steep sided pathways to the top.  Once at the top we hadn't expected it to be so wild and windy.  So much so that I clung to the walls of the tour until I could breathe again.  Rufus ran around and around the top, giddy on the height, the wind and the epic view.

The view, what a view.

From the top we could see Hinkley point, the Severn, Pilton and Worthy Farm where the festival is held, and below us, nestled in against the mighty tour the small spiritual town of Glastonbury.  I kind of wanted to see the floods that Somerset is still enduring, just a small patch was visible from the top, with the worst hit area to the South towards Bridgewater.  

On our descent, we wandered in the town visiting many hippy shops and one in particular 'Star Child'.  I wanted to take Charlie in there as it reminds me of the potions room in Harry Potter.  Charlie's eyes widened.  The smell of incense hitting the nose and faint hypnotic music played.  On one wall sat row upon row of glass jars filled with herbs and other witchy like sustances.  Candles overflowed the counter, with female shaped deities and prayer alters.

He whispered 'Are they witches'?  pointing at a couple of ladies. 'Probably' I replied.

He then chose us some green dinner candles... and merrily walked out back in the courtyard and sat by a huge Gold Buddha.

Only in Glastonbury.

Boys in the wood...

This Saturday, we spent the morning at the Cinema for Charlie's birthday party, and by the time we emerged the best of the weekend's weather had past.  We were in desperate need of fresh air and to work off all the pick & mix consumed. So we gathered up waterproofs, gloves and knives for an afternoon in the woods.

Our new favourite spot is the woods to the side of National Trust Tyntesfield estate. If you are in the carpark, looking down into the valley.  The house is to the left and the woods is to the right.

The weather was wild.  Squally. Strong gusts of wind made walking down the bridal path difficult.  Followed by lashing rain, driving hard into our faces.  We made camp on the edge of the woods, overlooking the field of brassicas.  We could see the weather front moving across the hills on the other side of the valley.  Here, sheltered by the woods we let the boys loose with their whittling knives.

Charlie has just been given by his Grandparents 'The Stick Book', perfect for all kids who love to have a stick in one hand whilst out in the wilds.  He was also given a pen knife from his school friend.  Quite sharp and pointy, but he managed well with some initial safety guidance.

Rufus used the Opinel knife.  The perfect whittling and outdoors tool.  Good for cutting and stripping bark, and buttering your bread too.  The rounded head meant Ru wasn't going to stab himself, but the blade was sharp enough to make whittling a breeze for him.

And there we sat, in the many showers and sunshine that followed.  The boys whittling sticks to a point, discarding and starting again.  Next time, I must remember to take my thermos! (school girl error!).

If you'd like to get your child into whittling there are some great places to buy their first knife:

Fforest General Stores
Hatchet + Bear


A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Charlie: Loving hanging back with his mum, pointing out the light on the hills beyond.
Rufus: Always with a stick or two. Boys and the woods.

Charlie has had a brilliant birthday week.  Family celebrations on his day and then today a trip to the cinema with a group of his closest mates.  They must have ate several kilos of pick and mix between them, a small fortune.  Giggles and whoops of laughter throughout the film. 

This afternoon, just the four of us braved the winter squalls and spent a good few hours in the woodlands of Tyntesfield Estate.  One of our most favourite places to visit.  Boys took their knives and sat for ages stripping the bark off sticks, sharpening them to a point. Discarding them and starting again.  Rufus remarked 'this is the best day ever!'.  Yeah son, it is!

National Trust - Powis Castle...

The day we spent exploring Powis Castle in Wales was hot, humid and a deep mist surrounded the mountains.  It seems a world away from the colder days we've experienced recently.

National Trust Powis Castle is such a brilliant place.  Stunning terraced gardens, which felt like we were walking through Italian scenes.  Clipped box hedges, as tall as 3 story buildings and shaped like large fluffy clouds showed us the way down to the bottom garden.  Winding through hedge tunnels, along gravel pathways, the boys ran ahead finding secret steps down into secret terraces. The odd statue leaping into view.

At the bottom the most welcoming National Trust cafe serving cakes, cream teas and coffee - much needed after the walk down and delicious as always.  After a quick pit stop a game of croquet on the lawn and a smell of the roses.

Back up at the castle, the views of the surrounding mountains were typically Welsh and beautiful, the mist just drifting off.  We visited the Museum, a collection of Indian antiques collected by the once Castle owner. Rufus fell in love with golden bejewelled tigers head.  Once back at the Yurt, he drew it in amazing detail.  A sign of a great day.

Kynance Cove...

You might remember last year when I said we had found our beach.  Well I am going to say it again.  We have found our beach!  

Kynance Cove is stuff of childhood dreams.  Rocky, wild and raw.  The trek down from the beach gives glimpse of the clear turquoise seas crashing below.  Scrambling over rocks at low tide, to finally land on white sands and soaring cliffs covered in barnacles.

At very low tide the sea allows you to skip round to the other bays, search for buried treasure in the caves.  We all became giddy in the delight of placing the first footstep on washed new sand.  Jumping in and out of waves, rushing to crash us against the jagged rocks.

Kynance Cove will always be in my heart.. the pina colada smell of the bright yellow gorse, the colour of the ocean. I love that word


lilac sea thrift billowing in the breeze. Sea gulls calling.  The smell of salt still lingers with me...


For more on our Cornish holiday and where we stayed please see my previous posts:

Avallen Barn

more to come...

Prior Park National Trust...


Belonging to the National Trust on the outskirts of Bath lies the beautiful green space of Prior Park. Prior Park is quintessentially English with hidden follies, wild garlic covered woodlands and grand buildings.  This gorgeous estate occupies a hidden valley with incredible views leading down into the centre of the City.

Armed with a packed lunch and a magnifying glass we embarked on a Spring discovery. We tramped through the wooded hills, stealing glimpses of the bridge and lake below.  Stopping to discover Ants, Bumble Bees and daffodils.

At the lake we made boats from waxy leaves and sticks, launching them from the lake side only to see huge  curious Carp submerge them in an instant.. annoying!

Lakeside you can find the best placed cafe ever.  A small hut selling the usual tea, coffee and cake, with a small children's den area to the side.  But more importantly a chimnea with a roaring fire to warm your bones as you soaked in the atmosphere.  Sitting there supping my tea I realised that the only sound around me was bird song and children having an adventure. Perfect.

Snowdrops in the sunshine...

snowdrop walk - National Trust Newark Park, Glos
snowdrop walk - National Trust Newark Park, Glos
snowdrop walk - National Trust Newark Park, Glos
snowdrop walk - National Trust Newark Park, Glos
snowdrop walk - National Trust Newark Park, Glos
snowdrop walk - National Trust Newark Park, Glos
snowdrop walk - National Trust Newark Park, Glos
snowdrop walk - National Trust Newark Park, Glos
snowdrop walk - National Trust Newark Park, Glos

Friday was a glorious warm spring like day.  A day to spend looking at carpets of white snowdrops.
We jumped in the car and headed to the Cotswolds, to the National Trust house - Newark Park, close to Stroud.  
The sun was wonderfully warm, we wandered through the gardens peeling off layers of coats and scarves, noticing the small differences between clumps of white belled blooms.  The boys ran through the trees, discovering the ruined folly (jail as they called it), before stumbling across a shimmery blue Peacock basking in the sunshine.  Spellbound they stood for ages marvelling at it's deep blue colour, before the bird became bored and flew up to the high wall, away from curious boys.
Now is the time see snowdrops in their full glory.  For more information have a look here for properties close to you.