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Sunday, 28 October 2012

Bretby and Tutankhamun

This week we visited Bretby which is in southern Derbyshire only a few miles from Burton on Trent.
Bretby means "The dwelling place of Britons" and its believed to be the site of a major battle between the Danes and kingdom of Mercia in AD880.
We hoped to see where the castle was sited and whats left of Bretby Hall.
We parked at the village green next to the old water pump and set off down the footpath marked Bretby Hall. One of the houses overlooking the green was a school opened for scholars in 1806.
Village water pump

Bretby Mews

Bretby Hall
 Bretby has a really interesting history. It was listed in the Doomsday Book under the title of  "Land of the king of Derbyshire). The first hall was built in 1680, this went through several notable families including the Earls of Chesterfield. The 2nd Earl was responsible for the design of the gardens which were said to be comparable to the walled gardens at Versailles.
 The present hall was built around 1812 to a design by Sir Jeffry Wyatville. Benjamin Disraeli was a regular visitor to the Hall.
Again the hall passed onto some notable families and in particular the 5th Earl of Carnarvon (the Egyptologist ). He sold off parts of the estate to fund Howard Carter who discovered the Tomb of Tutankhamun. The Carvarvons never lived at Bretby Hall but they did visit regularly. The Carnarvons lived in Highclere which is now famous for being Downton Abbey in the hit TV series.
The hall was sold to Derbyshire County Council in 1926 and was used as an orthopaedic hospital until the 1990's. It has now been developed into luxury apartments.
Bretby park is also well know for top quality pheasant shoots.
Impressive front to Bretby Hall

Nice gates, but don't know where the road went to

One of the lakes next to the hall

This tree must be at least 6 feet wide.

Lovely leafy track
Sail boat weather vane
Breakfast stop.

Back to the car parked at the village green.
An interesting little walk this week in an area we've not been before. A little disappointed that a lot of the park area was no public access so we obviously missed a lot.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Stanton & The Archbishop of Canturbury

Today we did get to Stanton albeit a week later than planned after last weeks disaster. The village of Stanton  was designated a conservation area in 1973 and has many listed buildings.
We parked alongside the Gilbert Sheldon Hall and just followed the road down to Ousley Cross Farm.
Named after the Archbishop of Canterbury who was born in the village in 1598
Lovely stone houses in the village

St. Mary's Church - built around 1846 by W Evans of Manchester.

Strange double wall  along the road.
Looking for potential walking sticks in the Hazel tree's that run alongside the road.

After we passed St. Mary's Church we walked down the lane to Ousley Cross Farm where we found the remains of the ancient cross. The Farm house is thought to date back to 1424 which is probably the date the cross was erected.

Remains of Ousley Cross

Ousley Cross Farm circa 1424
We left the road and went onto a track which eventually led onto footpaths crossing over the fields. Mostly the tracks were dryish, but then we encountered the worst conditions we have ever had and there was no escaping the MUD.

We got to a field that was a nightmare to cross. Rob & Ike went first then me, unfortunately i seem to get the worst of it. At one point i thought i was going to have to leave my boots in the mud, i had to use the stick to get some air in and relieve the vacuum. Geoff managed to get into the next field and missed the worst of it.
Me stuck in the mud.

Phone masts and pheasants
Misty sun rays.
The footpaths eventually led us to a road where we had our breakfast and cleaned our boots best we could.  back to Stanton Village.
Lovely garden

Cracking weather vane

Not sure if this was the village well.

King George V Coronation Lime tree
There is a lime tree planted to commemorate the coronation of King George V (22nd June 1011) and the cottage behind this tree has a blue plaque denoting where Gilbert Sheldon was born in 1598. He eventually became the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Sheldonian theater at Oxford was built and endowed at his expense. He died in 1677 and his remains are buried at St. John's the Baptist Church in Croydon.
We all wonder if our Geoff is related to him, sharing the same surname.
After i got home i had to hose my boots and walking trousers, not sure if the boots will be dry by next weekend.
This walk was just over 4 miles but there was a lot of stiles for Geoff to climb over and quite a lot of very damp and muddy conditions. The mist and low cloud kept rolling in and we had to wait for clear spells to some decent pics.
I think next week we need somewhere water free with solid ground.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Dam cars & Best Mates

This week we intended to go to Stanton which is only about 3 miles further than Ellastone where we went last week. It was my turn to drive and we set off at 7:30. We got to Ashbourne cross roads when i got a warning message re the engine running overheated and to stop immediately. We stopped and looked under the bonnet and decided it was short of water. Topped up the reservoir with bottled water the lads had and drove to the garage beside hangman's bridge. Checked the water again and put some more in. We decided it was to dodgy to carry on and so we set off back off home. Although the message had gone the warning light was still on.
We limped back to Blackbrook and parked on Geoff's drive, that's when the "A team" took over. After the car cooled down Rob, Ike & Geoff jumped into action. Rob whipped the top hose off the radiator, Ike magically materialised a de-icer hydrometer with a bottle of de-icer and Geoff had a full watering can. They dumped some water from the reservoir clipped the hose back on and topped up with de-icer. Cranked the engine up and bingo no lights or messages. Geoff and myself had a trip up the lane to see if everything was OK.
We decided to give it a good try out and go up to Alport Stone. We went up there and had a good look around and even had our breakfast up there.
The views from Alport Stone are spectacular on a clear day and we even thought we could see some mountains in Wales.
The "A Team"

"Blackbrook Garage"

View up Plains Lane

Lovely misty morning above Plains Lane

Alport Stone - views for miles.

Alport Stone

Happy car

Mist in the valley

Ike & Geoff

Spotting landmarks on the horizon 
After the work on the car everything is now OK and I've booked it into "Blackbrook Garage" for an MOT.
See you next week