Croome, ‘Conservation Walk’, 6.4km

After what felt like months of rain, gray skies and mud, oceans of mud, the weather was finally sunny and bright and with clear sky came a drop in temperature that meant that the aforementioned mud would be frozen solid and therefore harmless.

Thank the lord.

I grabbed Murphy and headed for Croome Court which I/we had never visited notwithstanding its relative proximity. Ridiculous really, why hadn’t we ever been?

The House is out of bound for dogs so I’ll have to go back to visit it. But the parkland is beautiful and well worth a walk around. Its story is long and full of twists, but basically it was originally the seat for the Earl of Coventry (since the 1600). In 1751 the 6th Earl inherited the estate and the house and hired Lancelot Capability Brown to landscape the land. It was Brown’s first major project.

He swept away the local village, which was in view of the house, and rebuilt it further away shrouded by tree planting. He removed Croome’s Medieval church and created a new Gothic church overlooking the park.  The old formal gardens were dug up and, in their place, Brown created natural looking parkland as far as the eye could see, complete with flowering shrubberies to walk through, temples and follies to add interest, carriage drives to ride on and a hand-dug 1¾ mile long serpentine river topped with a lake.

Murphy and I were there for the nature side of things, we wanted to explore so we walked the ‘conservation walk, which takes you pretty much around the main part of the estate… of course we did it ‘the wrong way around’… but it didn’t matter. Awesome it was either way!

I must mention that it is now in the capable hands of the National Trust, the volunteers are super helpful and friendly. Beside the house there is also an RAF museum here as the place was a secret radar station during the IIWW. Plenty to see, plus a second hand bookshop, a National Trust shop and an excellent cafe.

And all the paths are beautifully maintained and signposted… and they give you a very easy to follow map too which shows different walks of various length.

the old icehouse

You could easily see The Malvern Hills in the distance.

The Rotunda was simply gorgeous… it sat high, just before the ha-ha (which is one of my favourite word in the English language), surrounded by the ancient cedars planted by Brown… majestic and classic. He also designed the Rotunda itself in 1760, which was then used by the Earl of Coventry as as a ‘summer evening apartment’… I wonder what shenanigans went on in there on warm summer nights…

A few steps and a long straight path through – mercifully frozen fields – took us to a ‘Park Seat’ designed by Robert Adam which has a wonderful view pass the lake to the house.

It was cold people, don’t let the appearance of the sun fool you. In the shade the frost was still thick and the ground was solid… that of course didn’t stop a certain dog from entering the shallow end of the lake…

Idiot.

It took a considerable amount of treats to entice him away!

Such a beautiful day.

And cold. Let’s not forget how cold it was.

The path at this point turns back around the edge of the long, thin lake towards the house, still following the water which is so narrow one has the impression of walking along a small river, or a canal.

At this end the lake widens up and has islands and bridges…

… the island Pavillion…

… a grotto with a statue of Sabrina:

… and the beautiful Temple Greenhouse…

The whole walk is magnificent.

Choose a sunny day if you can and you’ll be rewarded by such beautiful vistas.

It felt like walking back in time gone by… like time travelling a little… I expected ladies in long dresses and carriages and gentlemen on horseback…

Sigh.

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