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architecture autumn autumn colours buildings River Severn sculpture Shrewsbury Shropshire townscapes trees

Walking the Shrewsbury Loop

Our county town, Shrewsbury, sits neatly and comfortably within a loop of the beautiful River Severn. Our hamlet, Plealey is just six miles south of the town, a very convenient distance for us as we are out in the South Shropshire countryside but a short distance by car to our county town.

As we came out of lock down, we decided to have a day off from gardening and go for a walk along the banks of the Severn, starting at the Welsh Bridge following the loop around to the English Bridge and back into the town centre.

We entered the riverside Victoria Quay passing a plethora of ugly signs and followed the quay with its rather gaudy hanging baskets and planters on the riverside fence. It is from the quay that The Sabrina, a pleasure boat, gives trips down the river for tourists and locals alike. On the left are fashionably popular eateries, including one of our favourites, The Armoury. A very popular riverside public house, The Boathouse sits on the opposite bank just before the first bridge that we pass.

We were surprised to see that the children’s playpark had been updated along a Charles Darwin theme, as Shrewsbury is the town of his birth. Along side the park was a new outdoor cafe with seats overlooking the Severn, so obviously we were tempted by takeaway coffees and cookies. Shrewsbury is famous as the home not just of Darwin but also Sentinel steam lorries and here we found one serving snacks and drinks to walkers passing by. We walked further along the bank-side path enjoying views through the bankside trees and hedges. Some of the willows have been sculpted by pollarding by previous generations who trained them in this way to get long straight whips of willow for basketry, a very important craft at the time.

The final picture in this set shows a lady pulling a canoe on a trailer, who we first spotted on the Welsh Bridge on the same route as us. We couldn’t work out why she was pulling it so far with a beautiful river alongside her. It was obviously hard work as she stopped frequently. It kept us amused!

 

Signs of an early autumn, golden dried leaves at the bases of the lime trees in the lime avenue, were prevalent As we walked further from the park we found these beautiful apartments in a converted brewery – what a view!

Shrewsbury boasts so many bridges of varied style and age.

    The oh so ugly railway bridge!

Our riverside walk was full of surprises, such as a clay tile piece of craftwork created by a local school, a beautiful modern building sat above the ancient town walls, the oh so steep St Mary’s Water Lane and a determined rose bush!

 

We enjoyed finding this piece of philosophy on a brick wall, before we reached the weir which was our point of walk’s end. Here we turned back and made our way back into the town for a well-earned coffee.

Although we have followed this route many times we still find it of interest!

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architecture garden design garden furniture garden photography garden seating gardening gardens gardens open to the public

Are you sitting comfortably? – Part 7 in this very occasional series

When checking through my past posts in this series I actually found 4 that I had prepared but never posted, so here is the first rather late as it is No 7! Enjoy anyway!

We will began my seventh selection of seats found in gardens I visit with Jude the Undergardener aka Mrs Greenbench, with a selection we discovered while exploring the wonderful Lake District. We will begin in the garden at Hill Top, where the seating was all very rustic.

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The selection at Ruskin’s Garden, Brantwood was even more rustic and fitted well in their environment.

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The seat we loved most of all at Brantwood was a big throne of slate slabs which was Ruskin’s Seat where he sat and thought and did much of his writing.

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In complete contrast the seats at Holker Hall were very varied both in design and materials they were constructed from.

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So that is it for my 7th post in this very occasional series of posts on garden seating. i hope you found them comfortable and enjoyed the views from them. I will be compiling number 8 as soon as this is published so we have lots more seats to sit upon.

 

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architecture National Trust The National Trust

Avebury Atmosphere

We have visited Stonehenge and always found it cold and uninviting especially now as English Heritage are messing it up so much. However every time we wander around the village and stones of Avebury we are always mesmerised by their special presence.

We visited in 2019 and again enjoyed it so much. We walked around the outside of the whole ring of stones. It is such a magical place and always makes us feel calm and relaxed.

I took so many photos of the stones either as individuals or in group I thought it best to share them as a gallery including a few shots of the village of Avebury. So follow by clicking on the first pic and navigating using the arrows. So come on a wander discovering the Avebury stones.

Partway way around our circular walk around the stones we came upon a magical tree with obvious special meaning to some. The tree was decorated with ribbons, written thoughts and natural objects in memory of a lost friend. It felt a special place as we stood beneath its boughs.

We continued on our wander around the stone circle to complete our walk.

We are pretty sure we will return for another wander!

 

 

 

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architecture garden design garden photography gardens open to the public Land Art Norfolk outdoor sculpture sculpture

Houghton Hall Part 1 – Richard Long at Houghton

This post, one of two about Houghton Hall in Norfolk wasn’t published at the time so here it is now, found again and ready to be sent out albeit rather late!

Richard Long is one of our favourite land artists and until this year we had only seen a few isolated examples of his work. While travelling towards our holiday venue in Norfolk we noticed, as we drove along, large signs advertising an exhibition of his work at Houghton Hall. We could not believe our luck! We soon set aside a day to visit the garden and exhibition.

The exhibition was called Earth Sky and we had seen a few of the pieces there in the past and thought it a great location for his work.

There were a couple of pieces we particularly wished to study, “A Line in Norfolk” and “North South East West”. We have already seen a similar piece to “A Line in Norfolk” at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park a few times over the last few years. There, the line of sandstone ran like a perfectly straight path into a lake. It looked amazing and magical. The other piece we wished to see had been featured in a magazine article and simply looked so perfect and satisfying sitting dead centre in a room in the house itself.

“A Line in Norfolk”

   

“North South East West”

  

As well as the pieces exhibited within the grounds a selection of much smaller pieces were on display along a corridor within the hall itself, delicate prints on driftwood and recycled pieces of wood.

    

Long experimented with splashes of white paint carefully and very deliberately thrown nto wall recesses previously painted black in readiness. The effects were fascinating and got the creative thinking going in overdrive. We saw simple but beautiful patterns, water falls, landscapes and much more within the lively white paint marks.

“White Water Falls”

I shall put more “White Water Falls” pics in the following gallery along with more photos of Richard Long pieces from his exhibition at Houghton Hall. Enjoy!

 

 

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architecture buildings colours townscapes Wales

Pembrokeshire coast and gardens – part 3 – Cardigan

We made our way to the coastal town of Cardigan a short drive from where we were staying for our Pembrokeshire holiday, mainly to visit the castle. In fact we found the town itself to be a very interesting place as well as the castle.

There was so much colour in the town’s main streets, with houses and businesses painted in all sorts of shades.

   

We found Cardigan to be a quirky little town which was a most enjoyable place to wander around. The castle would be our next port of call.

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allotments architecture buildings Wales

Pembrokeshire coast and gardens – part 4 – Cardigan Castle

As promised I am now sharing with you my photos taken at Cardigan Castle. As you will soon see it is a very varied place featuring all sorts from a celebration chair to a sword and from an allotment to a pillbox!

Enjoy this selection of my photos!

I hope you enjoyed my photographic tour which is somewhat of a mystery tour!

 

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architecture garden buildings garden design garden photography gardening gardens gardens open to the public outdoor sculpture sculpture

A Week in Cornwall – The Eden Project – Part 2

I promised to return with this post from the Eden Project in Cornwall continuing just as we were about to enter the Mediterannean Zone. I have to admit I prefer this dome to the Tropical Zone, but I can’t explain why. It simply feels more comfortable.

The structure of the dome reflects the framework supporting these vines.

It was the plants that flowered so full of colour that made this dome so exciting.

  

Arid plantings contrasted strongly with the brighter Med plantings, and it is the structure and texture of the arid plants that made them so attractive.

         

I will finish this look at the Eden Project biomes with a couple of photos of some lively sculpture.

 

In a future Cornwall holiday post I will share our visit to the other Tim Smitt project, The Lost Gardens of Heligan.

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architecture buildings garden buildings garden design garden paths garden photography garden seat garden seating gardening gardens gardens open to the public ornamental trees and shrubs outdoor sculpture

A week in Cornwall – Part 2 – The Eden Project

It had been years since we last visited the Eden Project, so we were excited to return when we holidayed in Cornwall in the Autumn of 2018. We knew that there would have been so much development in that time. When we did visit  again during our week’s holiday in Cornwall, the project had developed almost beyond belief. The first view of the domes from the top paths is always stunning and most inviting. The domes were the brainchild of founder Tim Smitt and designed by architect Nicholas Grimshaw.

   

The walkway down to the main feature, the project’s domes, was early in its development when we last visited so we were amazed at how interesting it was on our return visit. Here is a taster of what we saw as we descended down to the domes.

      

The first dome is the rain forest zone, where plants that we see more often as house plants grow healthy and tall, flowering and fruiting as in the wild. Exploring the dome takes you right up to the top of the building which affords great views. Wandering back down gives us as much interest to enjoy as on the climb up. Exploring this dome is quite an experience!

After exploring the tropical dome we had a break for refreshments, coffee and cakes as usual and then moved along the corridor leading to the Mediterranean Zone. That is the subject of the next post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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architecture fruit and veg garden arches garden photography gardening gardens gardens open to the public kitchen gardens ornamental trees and shrubs outdoor sculpture roses sculpture village gardens

Our Short Break in Stratford -on-Avon – Part 3 – Anne Hathaway’s cottage and garden

Anne Hathaway was Shakepeare’s wife and her cottage and garden are probably one of the best known tourist destinations in England, so we were pleased to be visiting in mid-week when we hpoed it might be a little quieter. Luckily we arrived just ahead of a party of schoolgirls, excited, boisterous and noisy.

Visitors were allowed into the cottage in small groups each of which received an introductory talk from a knowledgeable guide. Her chat prepared us well for our visit. We had a wandewr around the cottage interior although really we wnated be outside exploring the cottage style garden.

This set of photos give you the sense of the cottage’s beauty, intimacy and atmosphere. Beautiful gable windows pierce the tiled roof while climbing and scented plants snuggle up to its walls. The gardens are both productive and ornamental, with vegetable patches, fruit production and orchards as well as meadows and mixed borders. A beautiful woven “moongate” adds interest alongside many other sculptural pieces.

  

To help share our experiences at the Anne Hathaway cottage and garden I will use a gallery of shots taken during our exploration of the cottage interior, the garden and the grounds further afield. Enjoy by clicking on the first photo then navigate with the arrows.

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architecture buildings garden design garden photography garden seat garden seating gardens gardens open to the public grasses ornamental grasses outdoor sculpture sculpture town gardens

Our Short Break in Stratford-on-Avon – Part 2

Part two of this report on our short break in Stratford-on-Avon is all about the gardens of Shakespeare and his family. After spending time indoors studying the life and times of the Bard is was good to be outside discovering some outdoor history.

We will begin by looking at the grounds of the Shakespeare family home, where roses seem the most important plant. The planting today does not necessarily relate in any way to how it was in the Bard’s day. We loved this bronze of Shakespeare which seemed to capture his intelligence and depth of thinking and feeling, as well as the contemporary pencil sketch of the house.

 

In total contrast but just a short walk away, is “The New Place”, a celebration of Shakespeare’s life with exciting modern garden design and statuary. Each piece of statuary and each plant combination provides hints of the period as well as adding atmosphere. There were brilliant plant combinations combined sensitively with modern sculptural constructions. Softening of modern hard landscaping was carried out using soft, whispy grasses such as Stipa tennuissima Pony Tails.

    

The globe under the tree feature had a real surprise in store fr when you got close to the tree you realised it was cast in bronze. Goldfinches loved it and sang from its upper branches!

       

A more open space beyond he building and the modern garden area had a completely different feel to it contrasting strongly and providing a peaceful space to rest and have a quick coffee served by a barista on a bicycle. Long double borders with a central path ran along one side of the large green, with topiarised hedging and perennial planting.

  

Finally a parterre area felt much more in keeping with the garden style of the Shakespearian era, providing another contrasting area to explore. Lavenders gave off beautiful gentle scent.