Tag: English Heritage

A visit behind the scenes at Witley Court, Worcestershire

Witley Court: the great fountain via Flickr

A winter trip behind the scenes at one of England’s great stately homes brought a touch of Downton to January.

I was on assignment for Discover Britain magazine and here’s a preview of the feature in a forthcoming issue:

It was one of the great British country estates.

Set in extensive private grounds in rural Worcestershire, the house would have been alive with music and laughter in its Victorian heyday.

But the glamour of those society soirées, once frequented by the Prince of Wales, the later King Edward VII, has long since faded.

Today Witley Court is one of Britain’s most spectacular ruins, the fire-damaged structure an eerie reminder of its former glory.

Only the gardens, restored by English Heritage some 20 years ago, still display the vital signs of a quintessential English stately home.

Louise Bartlett, Senior Properties Curator for English Heritage, says:

You can still get a sense of the grandeur of the place, although you will have to use your imagination to conjure up the atmosphere of the house in its prime from the mid to late 1800s.”

More here.

Spring walks for English Heritage magazine

I’ve finished two stories looking forward to spring this week.

And, let’s face it, we all need a hint of snowdrops or a glimpse of daffodils at this time of year when the days loom grey and the vitamin D levels are low.

The first is a piece for the English Heritage Members’ Magazine and profiles a series of spring walks for some blow-away-the-cobwebs spring days out.

Suggestions range from a walk in the footsteps of the Roman legions around Housesteads Roman Fort, Northumberland, to soaking up the Arthurian legend on a walk around Tintagel.

The walk descriptions come with short route plans to discover the walks for yourself.

Pilgrimage route

The second is a feature about the Two Saints Way [pictured above], an ancient pilgrimage trail between Chester and Lichfield cathedrals.

The long distance walking trail, recreating the ancient pilgrimage paths, takes its name from Werburgh and Chad, two Saxon saints who brought Christianity to the ancient kingdom of Mercia in the 7th century.

The saints were laid to rest at Chester and Lichfield respectively, establishing the ancient cathedral cities as alternative pilgrimage destinations to Rome or Jerusalem.

Both magazine articles are out in the weeks to come, so check out my Twitter feed for links.