This week’s stroll was a hidden corner of Pembrokeshire, buried deep along country roads and single track lanes. I was convinced that I had visited Upton Castle before but none of it was in the least bit familiar so it was a real afternoon of unexpected discoveries. Another Pembrokeshire castle with Norman origins but with little left to see now amongst the later 17th and 18th century developments. The castle is privately owned and not run by any of the usual organisations that own ancient monuments and buildings. As a result the feeling is of entering somewhere that is private, somewhere where it is a privilege to be allowed inside to explore.
The medieval chapel however is a real gem of tranquillity, with an abundance of 12th and 13th century stone effigies of knights and their ladies. The one I’ve chosen here shows some of the fine details and what looks like a tiny hand by the lady’s pillow. I’ve only noticed this whilst looking through the shots I took and, after taking another look at Upton’s website there’s also a tiny foot….. a baby perhaps? I wish I’d taken more notice while I was there….. this could mean a return visit I suspect, before they close down in October for the winter!
The gardens are full of delights…… a wonderful sunken, walled rose garden reached by steps down through a stone arch, where the perfume from the roses comes up to meet you……… a sheltered stone gazebo where you can gaze out at eye level into the roses. An old stone workshop with overgrown windows which look onto the rose garden and leads through to the kitchen garden which is really more orchard. At the end the path leads out into the meadow with an abandoned shepherd’s hut and then into the woodland beyond. I loved the chair carved out of the dead tree trunk, although probably not the most comfortable of seats! The path divides to take you over a bridge and deeper into the woodland, but I took the other direction through the arboretum with its specimen trees.
Unfortunately there was no tea room to take a rest and enjoy the surroundings even more, so after an hour or so I had to move on!
As I languish in rural Pembrokeshire I’ve decided I should get out and about and explore the area while I have the chance. The September weather is wonderful; long warm sunny days, mostly in the low 20s, and clear blue skies are showing the county at its best. Whilst I busy myself with the house and garden during the week, in the hope that a prospective purchaser might walk through the door eventually, Sunday can be a bit of a low point so I’m dedicating Sundays to exploring local places of beauty, starting with the local gardens that are open to the public before they all close down in the autumn! As always my camera comes too!
The first Sunday stroll was a familiar one, to Colby Woodland Gardens, a National Trust property that reaches down to the coast. I didn’t venture that far but the walks vary from the formal walled garden to the oriental garden, meadows along the stream and the woodland paths that lead down to the sea or up onto the valley sides. And, of course, the required tearoom for an afternoon cream tea!
A return to my favourite haunt of Blickling Hall for my second contribution and a tree I came across a month or so ago with branches twisting close to the ground. I actually prefer the following shot, simply because I like the view of the hall in the background!
And the obligatory field of bluebells to complete my posts for this week’s challenge!
Look up – gaze at the blue sky above trees bursting into leaf.
Out and about this week so possibly my only attempt at the current challenge. Wandering in the park at Croome Court in Worcestershire today and came across this growing on top of an otherwise dead tree trunk.
Trees stand tall by the water,
the Spring sky glimpsed through the branches, as yet unladen,
all reflected in the still and murky waters.
This weekly photo challenge thing has really grabbed me…. in fact it seems to have completely taken over my blog – I really must try to get back to the original intention!
Having said that, I’m really enjoying the challenges. I’m finding that when I’m out with my camera I always have the challenge in mind and I’m constantly looking for opportunities to create a new photograph to post.
Yesterday we took the dogs for a walk on Kinver Edge. It’s been a few months since we were last there and there were huge changes in the woodland scenery. There’s obviously been some planned logging, with huge piles of logs waiting to be transported away, but there was a lot of storm damage too and many of the tracks were blocked by fallen trees. So, as well as the usual wide shots of trees and the views from the edge I was able to get up close to the log piles and peer inside!
When I’m staying with my son he likes to take the dogs for a run at weekends. Although they live in an urban area there are a number of wide open spaces within a ten-minute drive. My granddaughter likes to climb trees and this is one of her favourite climbing trees. The branches sprawl very close to the ground and she can get right inside them without having to climb to a great height – she’s really not that brave!