Monday 20 May 2024

Chipping Campden to Bakewell

May 19th. Fine and warm

Today we left Blockley to the sound of the 8 bells of St Peter and St Paul Church pealing beautifully in the still air.   Apparently at least two of the bells date back to the 1600s.   What a delightful way to say goodbye.   

Programming Lady Satnav for Chipping Campden, we set off in good time to have brunch there, not realising it was really only a stone’s throw away.     On the way we saw a genuine rambler striding off through the fields, complete with sun hat, backpack, boots and a hiking stick.   

We have decided that you need to be very thin to ramble freely on public footpaths because some we have seen are truly little more than a foot wide!  Thank you for the names of the white flowers on the hedgerows.  Little Sister and I took a vote of your suggestions and decided that Queen Anne’s Lace is the prettiest, followed by Cow Parsley and then Yarrow.  Sorry Little Brother, the British names seem more romantic.

Just before Chipping Campden was a small village with several thatched cottages.  Parking was easy when Little Sister did the UK thing of parking on the other side of the street.  A no no in New Zealand, this seems quite acceptable here.  Also we saw a very cooperative pheasant who only moved once we had finished clicking the shutter.  I’m still looking for a squirrel, a fox and a hare.  

We arrived early and had no difficulty finding a car park in the Market Square where several older men were setting up stalls of cow hides and sheepskins in the  ancient Wool Market building.  The roof trusses were venerable old beams discoloured from the centuries of dirt.  Also, the floor was probably the most treacherous of any cobbled stone floor yet.  Both animals and humans had trod the stones down to a very uneven surface

Walking down the street towards the church we saw a “doggie in the window”.   His many canine friends were out on the street or in cafes with their owners. 

At the church I was able to tick off another box - they had a small Avenue of around 10 Yew trees.  To the left was a graveyard from which we could see ruins of the great Campden House which was built by Sir Baptist Hicks, a prominent Silk Merchant.  Seems odd when this town was renowned for its wool.  Anyway, so the lady in the Information Centre tells me, the house was burnt down by Royalists in the Civil War rather than let Oliver Cromwell get at it.   Only the gate, gate lodges and part of the walls remain.  One part of the walls is fenced off to protect it from cattle on the estate and I noticed the stone was a pink colour.  The Information Centre told me that Cotswold stone turns pink when subjected to fire/heat.

Sir Baptist Hicks built and endowed several almshouses which have been preserved and are now residences along the High Street.

Then since the sign said Mooch, we did and found a small street with charming thatched cottages among which was one where the author Graham Greene and his wife lived from 1931 - 1933.

While in Chipping Campden we saw the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride go by.  Well they did four or five circuits up and down the High Street.   Mostly eccentric looking British men (and some women) dressed in collar and tie and tweed jackets (very dapper) they were part of a worldwide charity ride raising money for and awareness of prostate cancer.   Such fun.  People dashed between the riders, scooters stopped them and cars interrupted the sequence.   And my oh my the cars.  Range Rovers, Jaguars, Aston Martin,Lotus, Maserati, Ferrari.  Our dirty looking Mercedes is really no better than a clapped out VW here!

After yet another Elderflower refreshment at The Noel’s Arms we programmed Lady Satnav for Bakewell, chose the most direct route and set out.   No more country lanes this time.  A roads of three digits and one lane carriage way and then A roads of two digits and two lane carriage way led us to the M1 of single digit but four lane carriage way!  

We noticed that the landscape was a very different colouration as we drove through the Midlands.  Not much golden glow here.  The hills seem a little higher and the buildings were of course much darker in colour.  The roundabouts range from small painted on the road surface and barely noticeable, to the complex interlocking circles and traffic lights and up to 6 or 8 exits.  Little Sister drives, I count exits and we heave a sigh of relief when we and Lady Satnav agree and we can proceed.  So far no problems but we have expended more nervous energy than our total travel budget in £!

As we entered the Peak District proper, the buildings became darker stone and the hills quite steep.  We are staying in Bakewell which is all stone buildings, clinging to steep streets.  I didn’t believe Lady Satnav when she directed us up a 1 in 12 gradient street!

Our accommodation is in Bagshaw Hall.  This Grade II listed building was erected in 1684 by Thomas Bagshaw.  His claim to fame seems to be that he is the son of Thomas Bagshawe (with an e like Anne of Green Gables) who was a solicitor of repute in the area.  The walls are around 2 foot thick and our little attic apartment has a large 12 inch square wooden beam across the floor of the passage way.  A hazard for nightly bathroom visits!   

From the kitchen area is a small four foot high door through which, with difficulty, we can access a stone balcony with views across the valley.   Thick walls in ancient buildings do not make it easy for wifi and we thought we might have an involuntary digital detox.

Tonight we walked down a very steep street, reminding ourselves we would need to get back up!  After a little meander we chose The Wheatsheaf for dinner but the man at the door, in broad accent said “we cloose for foood  at siix on soonday”.  He reluctantly suggested a competitor establishment around the corner which provided sustenance and working wifi.  Thank you to The Castle.

Slowly back up the steep slope and we are happily in comfortable armchairs and will soon be in bed.


Maggie said...

Glad you arrived safely, look forward to seeing your photos and reading all about it. Havve fun

Clare-Aimetu said...

There's a big difference between the Cotswolds and the Peak District, hills for sure. Chipping Campden is where the celebrities live in the Cotswolds. We live between where you were and where you are now. You have lots to discover in this area, the views across the Penines is amazing, have fun.

Leonore Winterer said...

It's interesting how even in such a small country, the landscape and architecture can vary when you move around. It's similar in Germany!