One of my favourite escapes is to a National Trust property called Charlecote Park. You will see as my blogs go on, I do favour National Trust over other places for many reasons. The first and main reason is that since the children have been very small, they have never liked towns or cities, they are too busy for them and not very friendly for people with Autism or other disabilities. I have found with National Trust properties, it does not matter how many cars are there when you arrive, you are always able to find a quiet place to walk away from it all and these places are very much more friendly for families like ours.
Charlecote is one of my local National Trust properties and I have to admit, one of my favourite. I have fond memories of this place from when I was a child, my Grandfather used to take us to the arched gate entrance of West Park to see the Deer, there used to be a lot more then or was it just that I was smaller so thought that?
Charlecote is a a lovely estate which has been owned by the Lucy family since the 13th century. The house or Manor as I should really call it, was built in the 16th century and is surrounded by a beautiful deer park with the river Avon running through it's land. The High Sheriff of Warwickshire, George Hammond Lucy inherited the property in 1831 and recreated the Manor to it's original design and what you see today.
A little gossip for you, Queen Elizabeth 1 stayed here and for the James Bond fans, 'M' - Dame Judi Dench - used to live in Charlecote village and could often be seen in the park and Tom Fleming lived in the next village...There is a link here if you want to read more about this.. http://charlecoteparknt.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/judi-dench-shares-her-memories-of-charlecote/
Charlecote never disappoints me, it is a place I can truly escape to, although sometimes I do wish I could stay a little longer, but that's OK most of the time... I have my long walks and my shorter walks that I do when I have less time.
My shorter walk is over the bridge and around the lake, you get a lovely view of two very different churches from there, Charlecote's and Hampton Lucy's. There is often a surprise around the corner when you least expect it too, I often come face to face with some of the older deer, they are not quite so jumpy as those in the West Park as they are more used to people walking around that area of the estate. If you're lucky, you might see the white buck.
The amazing white buck can often be found in the middle of it's herd, nose in the air like he is above the rest.
The longer walk takes me through the West Park which is closed at certain times of the year, one is around June when the fawns are born, the other, around the end of this month when the rutting season starts, but to be honest, last week a couple of young bucks were keen to get started and I saw quite a display!
The walk around the West Park takes you through an avenue of trees which leads you to the arched gate entrance I used to stand at as a child to watch the deer and around acres of land. As you're walking along the avenue, sometimes a herd of deer run right out in front of you when you least expect it! This has happened to me a few times, I take my bigger camera with me, hoping to get some good shots of the deer, only to find most of them are hiding or in the deer sanctuary where I can't walk. I'm about to give up, time to go home, when there right in front of me is a herd of deer with their young .Such a beautiful sight! As I said, Charlecote never disappoints me. There is also my favourite view of the house from this side of the Park,you see how big the house really is and with the river running between you and your view, it makes a lovely picture.
I love the change in the seasons here too, seeing the deer in the snow makes it feel all the more like Christmas, of course my children call them reindeer, don't all children? I wonder which one is Rudolf ?
Summer afternoons walking in the sun with the reflections in the water, love it! For my photos, I like the 'Simpsons' clouds the best, they make great photos with their reflections.
Charlecote at Christmas and maybe Rudolf on the right?
Most of my walks are earlier or later in the day, I like these times, it always feels more peaceful somehow.
I always get lost in thought when walking around the estate, I think my imagination takes over a little sometimes. I imagine what it would have been like in the old days, drinking tea in the parlour, taking walks around the garden and smelling the beautiful flowers...As I said in my 1st Blog, I am a bit of a History buff too and you can't quite beat your own family's history, it's amazing what you can find if you look. As it is, My family, at least the English side, as far back as I can trace them, came from 2 little Villages behind Charlecote called Alveston and Tiddington. I imagine in the old days, most of the work to be found locally, would be on Estate. I need to research that a bit more when I have time.
I dream a little more when I am walking around the interior of the house too, it is dressed as it would have been in the olden days and sometimes you can even smell baking coming from the kitchen. I could go on and on about Charlecote but I won't today, I will leave that for future blogs,changing seasons and unexpected findings.