Monday, 18 November 2019

Isle of Wight Holiday Diary #4 - Exploring Brighstone


Hi there everyone πŸ˜€

When this post is published we will be hunkering down in Ashford-in-the-Water in Derbyshire, hoping that the floods of this last week or so have subsided so that we can get out and about ... though I think, secretly, neither of us will really mind if we have to hibernate for a week. In fact the idea actually sounds quite appealingπŸ˜€

For now though, we are back on the Isle of Wight ... and yes, we are still exploring the west of the island ...

Day 6 - Thursday

Today our plans were to actually park up and have a look round Brighstone. It's a pretty little village that we'd passed through a couple of times on our excursions so far and looked like it would be definitely worth a stop.

There is a small car park, which was full when we were trying to park but we managed to find a spot on the road, opposite the church hall ...
We couldn't have planned it better ... Thursday was craft market day ...
That was our first stop well and truly sorted and it was a real delight. Whilst we didn't actually buy anything, every single stall holder was so friendly and we spent a good while just generally chatting about the village and what we must make sure to see.

We mentioned that we'd had a quick look at the information board outside and it did look like there was more to the village than first appeared and were presented with a leaflet which included a map and two 2.5 mile walks around the north and the south of the village ...
Whilst we didn't feel quite up to completing the full walks we did want to have a bit more of a look round and headed up North Street, which was the prettiest of streets, housing a small gift shop, the village library and museum ...
We did just a short loop around the north of the village, heading left at the top of North Street onto Upper Lane and then cutting through and over Buddle Brook ...
... before heading back down Moor Lane and back on to Main Road and back into the heart of the village, passing some of the prettiest thatched cottages ever ...

Back in the heart of the village is a newsagent, pub and village shop, which had a fabulous display of fruit, veg and all manner of bits out front ...
From here we headed to the church ... we were on a Geocaching hunt and spent a good while looking round the churchyard for information that we needed to complete our quest ...

 

Having found all that we needed we headed off to complete part of the walk to the south of the village, doing another small loop which took in the ancient oak known locally as the Dragon Tree ...
We carried on down as far as Brighstone Mill before beginning to retrace our steps ...
... across the fields ...
... passing more pretty chocolate box cottages ...
... to bring us back to where we started.

I can't remember how long we spent in the village, other than the fact that it was a lot longer than we were initially expecting. If you visit and feel up to doing both of the walks and taking in a lunch stop, you could easily spend the best part of the day there.

We loved it and found it totally charming. Everyone we passed smiled and said hello, it was a really friendly and welcoming place to spend a few hours.

We decided to head off and try and find a nice spot somewhere for our picnic ... we really were making the most of the glorious weather.

We ended up at the car park for St Catherine's Oratory, where it was just a little bit breezy, but the views were fabulous ...
Lunch done we weren't quite ready to head back just yet and decided to take a drive along the Old BlackGang Road and have a look at the impact of the landslides, which have occurred over the years.

It's a very narrow road leading to a parking spot on a very windy and exposed part of the coast, but it was definitely worth a look ...

Seeing it today, looking beautiful with the blue sky and sunshine and vegetation claiming back the land, it was hard to imagine the devastation that would have been caused at the time, with houses and a great chunk of the coast lost forever ... It was quite sobering ... and on that note it was time to head back to Bramble Cottage for the evening πŸ˜”

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Thursday, 14 November 2019

Isle of Wight Holiday Diary #3 - Farringford & Tennyson Down

Hi there everyone πŸ˜€

We are back on the very lovely Isle of Wight with clear blue skies and glorious sunshine for today's post. We were discovering that there was certainly more to this part of the Island than we'd expected and managed to spend another two full days exploring more 'off the beaten track' spots ... all of which were new to us ...

Day 5 - Wednesday
We decided to head back to Freshwater, as we'd stumbled across 'Farringford' when looking at things to see and do on the island. We'd been and had a quick look at where it was when visiting Freshwater the previous day and thought it looked like it would be definitely worth a proper look.

Farringford was the main home of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, the great Poet Laureate. It is now open to the public as a historic home. To visit the house you need to book a tour and we did consider this, but they were fully booked for when we wanted to visit. To be fair ... from looking at the property's website it was the gardens that we were more interested in anyway and at just £3.50 a head for a garden visit, we felt it was definitely worth a look.
The main attraction is the walled kitchen garden and we entered via the gate in the wall, having no inkling what to expect.

Once inside and tickets bought at the little wooden reception hut we couldn't wait to start exploring ...
It really was a charming walled garden. In spite of the lateness of the season there was still a fair amount of colour and lots of interest to see including home grown produce for sale ...

... the prettiest thatched cottage ...

... perennial borders bursting with colour ...

... the most amazing cup and saucer vine ... 
... and some seriously stunning dahlias ...
Moving very slowly around the outer path of the garden ... trying to take everything in ... we were both really taken with the archway covered in all kinds of squash ...
There were some pretty spectacular specimens, all of which I found strangely beautiful ...
There were some pretty decent pumpkins growing on the ground too ...
... and plenty of very healthy looking chard ...
There was a really useful wooden shelving display showing what was currently in flower ... all very nicely labelled ...


We bumped into one of the gardeners who pretty much apologised that there wasn't much to see ... he needn't have worried we were loving it anyway ... though I can imagine that at the height of summer it would be even more beautiful.

We were now pretty much at the back of the walled garden and decided to carry on through to have a look at the house and the rest of the estate, saving the rest of the walled garden for on our way back.

The house sits at the top of the hill and was a pretty impressive sight ...

We walked round the extent of the grounds ... it was a decent walk, but not too far ... which took us back down towards the road, along the bottom and then back up towards the house.

We were happy to watch the locals having lunch ... as they were well fenced in ...


Back at the top I had a wander across the front of the house, looking for a good view ...
... and whilst it was a great view of the house, my timing was not good as a tour party were just coming out and seemed in no rush at all to move on ...

In the end I gave up hoping for a 'person' free shot and headed back to find Martin resting his legs on a very conveniently placed bench in the shade.

From here we searched out Tennyson's Bridge, the original of which was built in 1860. It crosses the lane that separates the main garden from 'The Wilderness' and was where Tennyson used to go when he needed a bit of peace and quiet ...
It was then but a short wonder through the woodland to the back of the house where ... finally I managed to capture a visitor free shot ...
From here we headed back round the front of the house to the top of the walled garden ...
... ... where we explored the other half of the garden as we made our way back to the exit ...
It was such a glorious day that we weren't ready to head for home just yet and decided to drive a bit further up the coast to see if we thought we could manage the walk up to the Tennyson Monument on the top of Tennyson Down.
We got lucky and managed to find a space in the tiny National Trust car park at the end of a single track lane and decided to investigate further.

Just outside of the car park is an information board showing two ways for walking to the monument. One pretty much just goes straight up to the top of the Down from the car park and this looked a bit daunting.

We opted for a longer but what looked like would be the gentler option of heading out towards The Needles and then taking a bit of a dogleg back. It started out pretty well, with a nice gentle slope ...
There were some really fantastic views across The Solent to Hurst Castle ...
The path got just a little steeper as we approached the point where we would be heading across to the coast before 'dog legging' back and up to the monument ...
Just at the top of the rise, by the signal beacon, we found the scant remains of the original monument installed following the poet's death in 1892 ...
Rather than taking the footpath directly to the new monument we decided to head for the coastal path first, to see what kind of view we would find ...
Once we hit the coastal path we were both a bit disappointed to find that we couldn't see The Needles looking across towards Alum Bay, but it was a pretty decent view all the same ...
What we could see ... in the opposite direction ... was that we did still have a bit of a slog if we wanted to make it up to the monument ... honestly, you can see it right on the top of the hill ...
We were both pretty proud of ourselves when we finally reached the top ...
It really was a beautiful spot ... with plenty of very welcome benches for resting weary legs.

As well as enjoying a good walk and getting to see an interesting monument, we were on a bit of a Geocaching quest and after a bit of pondering, we managed to find all of the information that we were looking for ...
... before building up to our walk back to the car park ... via the steeper route this time ...
We took it steady down through the woodland and were soon back where we started ...
What a day! We'd really enjoyed visiting Farringford and were so pleased that we'd made the effort to walk to the monument.

There was only one thing for it ... back to Compton Bay for another picnic lunch ...

A perfect way to end a perfect day out.

We will be back in West Wight exploring the very pretty little village of Brighstone in my next post ... There is far more more to this part of the island that initially meets the eye ... we were loving taking it just that little bit slow and spending time 'off the beaten track' πŸ˜€

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