This colourful specimen is in the Old Arboretum, and there are many paths to follow, and plenty of seats to stop for a rest.
Dogs (except for guide dogs) are not allowed into this part of the Arboretum. (allowed in Silk Wood though).
As I was doing a bit of research on the Tudor architecture (here shown) I came across this little gem.
"Just out of Tetbury is Chavenage House, a grand Elizabethan mansion built in Cotswold stone.
The front is little changed since 1576. The present owners, the Lowsley-Williams, are connected to the original Stephens family by marriage.
They will be forgiving, I'm sure, if the sad story of Nathaniel Stephens, local MP, were retold. Stephens was in a dreadful position; the King, Charles I, was under arrest, and the crowds were baying for his execution.
Stephens' worst fears were realised when a visitor was announced. 'The Commissary-General is here to see you, my lord', a servant announced. It was Henry Ireton, son-in-law to Oliver Cromwell. He brought with him a document for the lawful execution of the monarch - and he was wanting to leave with Stephens' signature on it.
Just what threats, cajoling, and persuading were used will never be known, but Ireton left triumphant, the fate of the King sealed. Stephens sat, bewildered, his name hardly dry on the document, wondering what had possessed him to sign away the life of Charles I.
A month after the King was beheaded, on January 31, 1649, Stephens succumbed to a chill and, on May 2, he died, tormented and repentant of his part in the execution.
As his grieving family gathered to pay their last respects, the last awful scene was enacted. All those present suddenly heard hoofbeats and, wondering at this unexpected visitor, turned to see a richly-decorated coach pull up the drive, drawn by black horses.
To their horror, it had arrived for none other than their late lord and master. As it pulled up, Nathaniel Stephens, still in his death shroud, walked from the manor to the coach. As he got in, the driver prepared to depart - a headless driver, in royal clothing, wearing the order of the Garter on his leg.
As the coach left, it burst into flames, and disappeared.
It is said that every Lord of Chavenage who dies within the manor, will depart in the self-same way.
Just down the road aways from Tetbury is the National Arboretum which we actually visited before getting to Tetbury.
I enquired from the staff at our accommodation as to what time they opened. She replied 10 a.m. but she told us you can go any time. As time was of the essence we departed and reached the aboretum around 9.30 a.m. We were the fifth car there. As we drove across the paddocks we saw all these posts and arrived at the conclusion that there must be some equine event on, a gymkana perhaps.
Not to worry, we were here to see the trees, though we did notice a few people in uniforms en route to our parking spot.
By the time we purchased our tickets and headed off into the woods, several more cars had arrived. Not to worry, the trees beckoned.
When we emerged over 2 hours later, there were lots of cars. Like, something beyond hundreds.
A chance eavesdropping on some obviously knowing person led me to come up with this gem:- On the same weekend last year, OVER 22,000 people came to look at the trees, OVER 16,000 on the day when we were there. Awesome.
The moral to the tale, as we drove slowly past the seemingly endless rows of cars lined up alongside the posts (where were those horses), is, be early. I'm glad we were.
During the course of my trip to England I spent hours just walking along streets and admiring the architecture and colour of the pub fronts with their flowers and the ivy hanging off the walls.
Here are a couple of examples from Tetbury, they're on the same wall as the clockmaker's sign on the opening page but the opening one is one of my favourites.
The last picture is the whole building so you can begin to understand how, in just the one building, there may be many photographs.
The old church was demolished in 1777, with the exception of the tower and spire. It was purported to have been founded in 1160, but the tower and spire date from around 1400.
Building of the new church at the same location commenced in 1777 and, incorporated the tower and spire from the old church. The architect was Francis Horne of Warwick, and it was opened for divine service on the 7th October, 1781.
The chancel is very short, and is raised by two steps above the body of the church. On the north side is a handsome marble monument to the memory of Sir William Romney, with his effigy above, erected at the expense of the Rev. John Wight; and on the south side, a somewhat similar one to the Rev. John Savage, late Rector of Beverstone.
The east wall of the church, over the vestry and south doors, is covered with monuments, erected to the memory of different families connected with the town.
The interior dimensions of the church are as follows:-
Height of spire, from ground to the top of the head of the weathercock 186 feet.
[The spire is purported to be the fourth highest in England.]
In the tower there is a fine ring of eight bells. Seven were placed there in 1722. On them are the following inscriptions cast round the rim :-
1st and 2nd. Prosperity to the Church of England.
3rd. Prosperity to this Town.
4th Prosperity to this Town and Parish.
5th and 6th. Giles Body, Matthew Wilkins, ChXwardens.
7th. I, to the church the living call, and to the dead do summons all.
In the centre of the inscription on all the bells is the date 1722, the eighth bell was erected in 1803; on it is the following inscription ; 8th. J. Rich and R.M. Warman, C.W., 1803. J.Rudhall, fecit.
There are also a set of chimes in the tower, which were given by the Rev. John Wight, in 1749; they play the tune of the 113th Psalm for about four minutes every four hours, viz. at ten, two, and six.
If you have been seeking the raw facts about that eye-pleasing beige rock that so many buildings are constructed of in the area then here it is in black and white.
"Cotswold Stone is an oolitic limestone – an organic sedimentary rock consisting of microscopic spherical particles, each a nucleus of a grain of sand or shell, around which calcium carbonate has collected. Over a period of millions of years, these particles have then become lithofied to produce large belts of limestone, creating the unique Cotswold stone that is so sought after today.
The particular limestone found in the Cotswold belt is from the Jurassic period of the Mesozoic era, formed around 150 million years ago when the area was beneath the sea Cotswold Stone has been quarried and used for building since Roman times. Today, much of the charm and distinctive character of Cotswold towns and villages is due to the use of this mellow and versatile local stone. The enduring quality and beauty of Natural Cotswold Stone can be seen in some of the finest architecture in the country. Windsor Castle, St Paul’s Cathedral and Blenheim palace are amongst the finest and most pleasing examples. "
My two shots were taken of more mundane buildings, a local B&B and the side of a house next to the carpark beside the information centre. I just loved the plant climbing up the wall.
Basically, the majority of shops are along the main street so it's a matter of finding a carpark for which you'll have to pay most days though Saturday afternoons and Sundays are free.
Then again, that's when the tourist information centre is closed!
Had to love this. We were strolling down the main street, past the much touted antique shops, when we came across this scene in a shop window.
I mean, what other heading did you expect me to give it?
There were actually two dogs but the younger one was obviously more keen to do other things while the older dog was content to maintain his recumbent posture.
When Prince Charles and Princess Diana made their home at Highgrove House in Tetbury, the town was elevated to country-wide, if not world-wide fame. It was said that he adored the countryside and all its pursuits; that she was a London girl who felt stifled in the country.
Certainly, they became familiar figures in the area, and tourism increased many-fold, despite the fact that Highgrove House is rarely open to the public.
In recent years, however, Prince Charles’s farming aspirations have come to fruition, and his organic Duchy range promises the best, and most delicious, of produce. The gardens, too, are famed, and local knowledgeable guides take groups around.
The town itself has other history that make the trip here worthwhile without knowing all that.
The Market House in the centre of Tetbury is an immediate reminder of the history of the town. Built in 1655 and supported on three rows of bulging stone pillars, it was designed for the sale of wool and yarn, and still has a market use today. Today the small marketplace is still the focal point of Tetbury, which is today more well know for its antique shops. A walk down the old Chipping Steps and round into Gumstool Hill will reveal another part of Tetbury's history, with 17th century weaver’s cottages.
Westonbirt contains over 17,000 trees and plants of which many species are now rare and endangered in their native lands.
The Old Arboretum was created in about 1829 by Robert Holford. Trees and shrubs from all over the world, collected by the great Victorian plant hunters, found their way to Westonbirt.
The acid soils are perfect for plants such as rhododendrons, magnolias, and azaleas whose flowers provide a spectacular show through April, May and June.
October sees the beginning of one of the most renowned displays of autumn colour .
The photograph here shows the entrance post to the Arboretum announcing Springtime.