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Monday, 28 October 2013

Autumn at Coombe Abbey

We have been going to Coombe Abbey ever since we were children and have seen many changes over the years. some better , some I wish they had left but on the whole, Coombe Abbey is a beautiful Country Park with something to do for most people.
It lays on the outskirts of Coventry heading East as if towards Rugby. There is no cost to enter the park but there is a parking charge as usual in most Country Parks £3.70 for a car which isn't bad if you make a day of it. If you live within the Coventry area some people can get a PTLL which will reduce the amount to £1.90 for parking..check if you qualify.. it gives you a special card which entitles you to cheaper parking at certain leisure places in Coventry.

I have photos of Coombe Abbey in every season but that's for another blog. With Autumn here and the beautiful colours it is a good time to write about this season and show you a few photos I have.

I have very fond memories of Coombe Abbey from when I was a child. In those days there used to be a large paddling pool which was always really busy in Summer. Our parents would sit on the wall chatting while we ran around having fun and making lots of noise, as children do. As we grew a little older, like 8-10 maybe,we thought we were too big for the pool so like other children, swam in the water in front of the house. Everyone did in those days and we didn't think twice about it.
 Now I look at that area and I wouldn't let my children swim there at all, the water is not as clear as it used to be in the old days and it is full of algae. Plus the house is quite a posh hotel now so I guess they wouldn't want screaming children in the water in their garden. Funny how times change and you look at things differently, we always swam in rivers as children, now it's unthinkable unless it is a stream just to paddle your feet in. The paddling pool is one of those things I wish would have stayed, it was a good size and families loved it. It was somewhere nice to go on a hot Summers day for children to have fun and cool down.

This next picture shows you the area in front of the house where we used to swim as children.

There is a walk way which separates the water in front of the house to the rest of the lake which is always full of wildlife and a very popular place for people to go and feed the ducks.

This is the left hand side of the walk way which also has a nature reserve in the far distance which I am afraid is off limits to the public.

Coombe Abbey is nice at all times of the year but I must say, Autumn and Winter are my favourite times for a walk here. Autumn is really lovely here, this is where I like to walk through the leaves. The Avenue of trees on the approach to the front of the Abbey are great for autumn crispy leaves. The trees are just far enough apart to allow just the right amount of Sun through to crisp the leaves up beautifully. If you want some lovely family Autumn shots, this is a good place to go.

 Conkers, there are loads of these here but be quick, the squirrels are stealing them :)

I love the Autumn colours in the next photo

Another squirrel stealing conkers

Also Autumn at Coombe Abbey is great for just a bit of fun in the dried leaves  :) My boys thought it would be funny to cover their sister in leaves, note she is sitting on my coat so I went home muddy and wet!


I like this one, the leaves in the air are almost a circle.

Autumn here like so many other wooded areas is ideal for mushroom spotting and the wood here is a good size, some areas especially closer to the little bridge over the water, is the best area for squirrel spotting, deeper into the wood you go or the other side of the cleared area in the middle, is best for mushroom spotting.

Two of the trees reminded me of an old Czech story called 'Little Otik' or 'Otesanek' in Czech, strange film in where a piece of wood comes to life but worth watching. I can see mad faces in both of these trees!

The first few mushrooms were taken just as the Sun came down the other day, you can see the warm glow of the Sun lighting up the back of the pictures as it shines through the trees.

The next few were taken on a different day, early morning which is the best time to find all types of fungi.

There is a little hole in the stem of this one, I imagined some little creature making a home in there :)

                              I like the top of these, they are almost like little frills
                                                  A few of the others I found.

                  This part of the walk runs alongside the river.

A little History about Coombe Abbey.... Coombe Abbey was originally founded as a monastery in the 12th century but during the 15th century, under the rule of Henry VIII,  monasteries, priories and convents were abandoned and  Coombe abbey became the property of the Crown. Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of James VI, King of Scotland and Ireland who was also King of England as James I from the joining of the Scottish and English crown on March the 24th in the year 1603. Elizabeth, James eldest daughter and sister to Charles I, lived and was educated at Coombe Abbey as a child.

Most people know about the gunpowder plot of 1605 but in case you don't. Catholics and protestants really did not get on at the time and even though James I was Catholic, he was thought to have given the protestants to much freedom. In revolt, a group of Catholics planned to blow up parliament, killing the King and most of the protestant aristocracy at the same time. The plan was to kidnap James daughter from Coombe Abbey and put her on the Throne, if this would have happened, she would have been Elizabeth II. As you know this failed and Elizabeth later married Frederick V in 1613.

In 1619 Frederick became the King of Bohemia and they both moved to Prague, the reign was to be short lived due to fighting between religious groups, they lived in exile in Hague, never returning to Prague. Due to the reign being so short and just through the Winter months, Elizabeth was often referred to as the Winter Queen and sometimes the Queen of Hearts as she was well liked. I love this bit of history, locally we have a few connections to Bohemia and I myself was born there in Prague, it is better known these days as part of the Czech Republic.
                             The back of Coombe Abbey and the formal garden

These days the house is run as a hotel where you can even go for a Medieval Banquets on special days, something I plan to do one day, I think it could be fun.

One of my favourite times here is Winter, it really does become a magical winter wonderland, here are a few photos I took with my little camera.


                                              And of course a hazy sunset

Oh and I must not forget my love birds, more coming in another blog, I have watched these 2 all year and have photos of them nesting, with the newly hatched babies and as the signets grow.

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