Clent Hills; but mainly
20th November 2010. I am, I readily confess, a sluggard. I do not want to get out of bed in the morning. It is very comfortable there, thank you. And yet… there are those mornings when one does actually wake up and feel quite energetic. This was one of them; so the obvious thing to do was get up and go out somewhere. Then the thought of a bacon sandwich at the refreshment kiosk at Clent came to us. They do very, very good bacon sandwiches indeed! So off we went. We got there at about on a damp & misty morning, forgetting that in winter the kiosk does not open until It opens a lot earlier in summer. So we had nothing to do but to potter up the path shown, to the top of this hill. A nice walk to work up an appetite for breakfast! Great Heavens – what are we coming to?
The expertly managed woodlands. A site such as this is a paradise for insects, birds, small rodents &c. There is not photograph from the top of the hill, for the mist was thicker up there and nothing was visible. But after wandering around for an hour or so, it was soon 10:00 a.m. so back down to the kiosk, a super bacon sandwich – sitting in the open of course – and a mug of tea. What delights are to be experienced from such simple things!
2nd January 2011. This year, or rather last year, Christmas
day was a Saturday; so the following Monday & Tuesday were Bank Holidays.
Then New Year’s Eve was a Friday, so the Bank Holiday is on Monday 3rd January.
This gives a really good holiday period, which I am still enjoying. The
horrible weather we all experienced during most of December had gone;
temperatures soared to 6 °C – it felt positively warm! So off
grounds are very extensive, and you can walk literally for miles. This is the
view to the west, with the
It takes 6 or 8 minutes to walk from the church to the house, via a winding path. Although it was good to get some fresh air, we shall come back in summer as well. The grounds were landscaped by ‘Capability’ Brown (1716 – 1783). I thought for years that Capability was a given name: that of a virtue or attribute such as Faith, Hope, Charity &c. But no; his real name was Lancelot Brown, and when looking over your gardens or grounds he would say “..there is the capability of improvement…”, so that became his nick-name. The ‘river’ to the right is actually a long and artificial lake that he designed; at its northern end it actually does open out into a larger area, complete with island.
The impressive south-facing façade. Two sphinxes flank the steps leading to the front door; they are currently wrapped up in tarpaulins. The marquee is obviously used for social or business functions. I say obviously, because I have done many gigs in various National Trust properties over the years, ranging from weddings, anniversary parties, and events promoted by the NT themselves; in marquees, in the houses, and in the grounds.
The other famous architect and designer associated with
A walk back up the winding path led us past St. Mary Magdalene’s church. It is not used, though still consecrated, and is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. The building was designed by Capabilty Brown and the interior by Robert Adam. It houses monuments of earlier Coventrys:
The one on the right is dated 1634, so was clearly moved here from the old church.
By way of complete contrast, this utilitarian structure,
currently serving as a shop, café and entrance to the grounds, survives from the
Second World War, when much of Croome park was in the hands of the Royal Air Force: RAF Defford. Top-secret developments in radar were carried out
here; and the Dutch Royal family spent some of their exile living in the house itself.
Page written 3rd January 2011.