Thursday, April 23, 2009
We spent a few days south-east of Derbyshire. We walked in the gardens of the Queen's Sandringham estate, stayed O/N in Norwich, visited the seaside resort village of Southwold and lots of other small, quaint villages. We saw Bury St Edmunds on the map and just had to go there. Bury is an ancient market town with ruins of St Edmunds Abbey. Edmund was 9thC king who was beheaded by the Danes. S0 50 years later, a monk dug up his grave and relocated it to this site and created a small chapel there. Miracles were performed from his grave and it gradually became bigger and more important and as with all religious sites, when abbotts get involved, grandeur and more grandeur evolves. At it's peak the main building was 512' long and it was the site where in 1214, English barons drew up a petition that would form the basis of the Magna Carta.
Sue really enjoyed walking around the ruins and the immaculately-laid out grounds and gardens.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
The university city of Oxford was very interesting. We went on a sight-seeing bus first then we did a bit of walking. Christs Church was a collection of buildings based around an old Church. The great hall was actually used in the Harry Potter films (digitally modified of course) but was still imposing.
We stopped at Bourton On The Water which has a shallow stream running thru it. Thyson and I did some trout spotting and the weather seemed OK at the time so Lainie suggested that we go for a countryside walk so we went across paddocks and followed old paths to Lower Slaughter then on the Upper Slaughter. We were ready to return when it started raining steadily. We went back to Lower Slaughter and they all had a warm cuppas and scones in an old mill whilst I went back to get the car. I was thoroughly wet by the time I got back to the car and when I picked them up, all they could say was "You took your time, did you get lost" which went down well.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Lacock is a mediaeval village mostly unchanged since 18thC and protected by the Natioal Trust. It is used frequently as a setting for films and tv series (eg Harry Potter, Pride and Predujice). A beautiful village spoilt by bloody tourists parking their cars everywhere (our car was parked out of the main township area).
We went up to the Dartmoor moors where there are neolithic houses and some some standing stones. We found some house sites, one with concentric stone walls as well as an avenue on a smaller scale to that at Avebury.
At Avebury there is a circle of stones some 350m in diam surrounded by a ditch (6-9m deep) and mound (5.5m high) with the biggest stone 20t in weight. Overall there may have been nearly 1000 standing stones in the immediate area as well as some burial mounds, the highest being Silbury Hill which rises 50m above the plain. Most date back to 2200 - 2500BC.
The size on Avebury did not prepare us for the beauty and power of Stonehenge - simply magnificent, though a little crowded.
Woodhenge is very close to Stonehenge and may have been an earlier, simpler version.