Park Life

Sunday was a beautiful day. The sun was shining. It was reasonably warm for the time of year and it was my birthday. To celebrate we went for a walk in a nearby National Trust parkland, Berrington Hall, where a new route has been created through the broadleaf-woodland, followed by coffee and cake in the courtyard with live music from a folk group celebrating the apple harvest and a last lingering stroll around the walled garden and orchard simply dripping with apples of all colours and sizes. Care to join me?

Walks

We decided to follow the blue route but cut alongside the lake and then follow the yellow route to cut across and join the blue one again. Although we have visited Berrington many times, it has always been during the period when the lake walk is closed due to grey herons nesting there between March and July.

Looking back towards the house, built in 1775 by Thomas Harley and designed by Henry Holland in the latest French influenced Neo-classical style.

The park, which has spectacular views west towards Wales and the Black Mountains, was developed by the infamous ‘Capability’ Brown, father-in-law to Henry Holland.

Sheep are always to be found in the surrounding pasture land.

Many types of water birds visit the lake at different times of the year, including mute swans, great crested and little grebe, grey-legged geese and a number of species of duck.

A pair of Mute Swans

The pair of swans suddenly rise above the water and with a whooping sound they stretch out their long necks and flap their wide wings and glide elegantly to another section of the lake.

Reflections

Leaving the lake behind we headed up towards a convenient bench at the top of the hill and then turned left and back into the woodland.

Bench
Bench
Bench view
Bench view
Autumn colour
Autumn colour in the little wood

The native woodland is full of shadows and patterns as the sun dips behind the clouds now forming in the west. The tap-tap of an invisible woodpecker disturbs the silence and small leaves slowly descend upon our heads like a golden snowstorm, whilst the ominous thud of falling nuts causes us to grin nervously.

In the native woodland

Once out of the woodland and back across the field the landscape opens up again with views towards Croft Ambrey an Iron Age hill fort.

And directly in front of us the west front of the mansion can be seen in all its splendour. A young girl merrily performing cartwheels on the lawn, the ha-ha forming a boundary between the house and the park (the installation of a ha-ha prevented the livestock in the park -cattle, deer, sheep- from encroaching on the more elegant and refined part of your estate.)

Music in the courtyard, with the faint tang of apple cider in the air.

I’ll leave the walled garden and the orchard for another day, but I hope you have enjoyed your stroll in the Herefordshire countryside.

If you enjoy a walk, long or short, then have a look at Jo’s site where you are welcome to join in.

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Heyjude

I now live back in the UK, but spent several years travelling the world and then living in South Africa. I look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

49 thoughts on “Park Life”

  1. Thanks for this most enjoyable tour of the estate, Jude. Lovely to see the autumn colours appearing, they are late around here.
    Heavy rain for the last two days, so that sunny Sunday is a nice memory.
    Regards as always, Pete. x

    1. Thanks Pete. I was glad to see the hint of colour changing in the landscape. It was a lovely day, started out very blue sky but the mist and cloud came in gradually through the afternoon and I wasn’t able to get any photos towards Wales because of the glare. Rainy here too since then, but quite warm still 🙂

    1. I have never been one to celebrate birthdays though I have been lucky to get away during many recent years, but a good meal and a lovely walk are my favourite way to mark the day. Thank you for the good wishes 🙂

    1. Thanks Jo. It was a lovely day, good to see the colours starting to change and get some decent photos of the landscape. I’m happy with taking my camera (and OH) for a stroll 😀

  2. Everyone should have a little sunshine on their birthday (unless they don’t like sunshine, of course 😦 ). How nice that they close that lakeside walk for the herons, Jude. I approve 🙂 And I approve of your lovely Autumnal shots too, though I’d have liked a close up of the lassie doing cartwheels. Favourite shot is that lovely one, front on to the lake, and I love the tramping through the woods one too. Cheers, Jude!

    1. And yet I have never seen a heron there! Too far away to capture the cartwheeler and by the time I was close to the house she had gone. Perhaps not a good idea to photo children that aren’t your own though 😕

      1. I seldom remember to think that. Was funny because I spotted a teenager cartwheeling down a back street on Saturday when I was getting my breath back at zumba! Using my phone now because we have a power cut. Must be the weather! No Rafa. Have to be housework or a book x

  3. Another great work of Mr Brown’s, he was prolific wasn’t he? Imagine England without him. I love your fruits photos and the woodland ones most of all. A lovely place for a birthday walk!

    1. Definitely prolific here in Shropshire! I like a stroll around parkland, but love a stroll around a garden. In fact the walled garden here has improved immensely since my last visit so I had the best of both on Sunday 🙂

  4. Amazing clarity of light and delicious autumn colour. I love that path strewn with golden leaves, and the three circles, and your nervousness about nuts. Why infamous Capability Brown?

  5. Happy belated birthday, dearest Jude! Nature put on quite a display in your honor 😀 we ooh and ahh over the vibrant trees but it’s the grasses that capture my heart – their turns to rusts, purples and golds are exquisite. I’m glad you posted them since I haven’t dug through my recent photos to get them into a post. Also love the trio of berry photos.

    1. I also adore the grasses. We don;t get a lot of prairie style planting over here, but some of the bigger gardens incorporate it in their borders. The reeds here were tinged with orange, which looked beautiful from a distance. Thank you for the birthday wishes Sammy, the years are passing far too quickly though!

      1. They sure are!! Whizzing by.

        I was surprised to see many more grass varities in Michigan landscaping on my visit. Obviously they are being cultured to thrive in more grow zones which spreads theur use and beauty beyond previous limitations.

  6. This seems to me a delightful way to spend a birthday – sunshine, fresh air, beautiful vistas and snacks at the end of a lovely walk! You have some great English countryside photos here.

  7. What a lovely way to spend your birthday Jude, even the weather was worth celebrating. You have really caught the beauty of the English countryside with the warm touch of the autumn colours, the lake, the sheep and the falling leaves as you walked us through the woods all beautiful. If I came back for a visit I would come in autumn.

  8. This is a wonderful photo series for a virtual walk. It must have been magical hearing the music from across the lawn getting louder as you got closer. That bench at the top of the hill also sounds like a wonderful place to rest and meditate.

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