Category Archives: West Country

West Country Area

bath City of Bath  -  Somerset, England UK West Country  Somerset Bath

City of Bath – Somerset, England

3987488429_0628033d6f_o City of Bath  -  Somerset, England UK West Country  Somerset Bath   The Pulteney Bridge, Avon River

City of Bath

Somerset, England

In the South West England, there is a town that is too pretty for words.  It was founded in the 1st century AD by the Romans as a thermal spa (Aquae Sulis) and thus renamed Bath.

It’s current form started in the 18th century, under  in King George III.  We must give thanks  to the hard and inspired minds of  John Woods the elder (1704-1754) and the younger (1728-1782), and their interpretation of Andrea Palladio’s (1508-1580) concept of picturesque aestheticism.  We now see the seamless integration of the The Roman Baths and temple complex,  the remains of the city of Aquae Sulis, and the more modern English City.

Other architects and visionaries responsible for overall city landscape were Robert Adam , Thomas Baldwin  and John Palmer.

Bath is also a must place to visit for any Jane Austen admirer 🙂

3223093156_1669b368bb_b City of Bath  -  Somerset, England UK West Country  Somerset Bath   (above photo Royal Crescent © Christina West)
BathVT-Profesor City of Bath  -  Somerset, England UK West Country  Somerset Bath   (above photo Palladian Bridge at Prior Park © VT Professor)

This Palladian bridge in the Prior Park Landscape Garden was built in 1755, and it is  one of only four in the world. is set into a sweeping valley with magnificent views of the city of Bath.

16208993_af451bc6c6_z City of Bath  -  Somerset, England UK West Country  Somerset Bath   (above photo The Circus © Robert C)

From ‘Obsession: John Wood and the Creation of Georgian Bath’, 2004, pp95-98).

The (originally ‘Kings’) Circus (South Eastern Section – c1762-6) bathed in the late October sun of 2007, one of the best autums I can remember. As ever, the play of light across the beautiful Bath stone allows this shot to become magical! (Best viewed large size.)It has been pointed out that the Circus was originally devoid of any plants or grass, being a circle of cobbles, since Wood intended the link to nature to be a direct one-to-one relationship between the architecture and its symbolism and the open skies above – ‘a dramatic and theatrical space where the architecture took centre stage’. Wood believed that there had always existed a temple to the Sun and Moon on Lansdown hill and the Circus was to be his recreation of a temple of the Sun, with the Royal Cresent the reborn temple of the crescent moon! As such the Circus is the same internal diameter (318′) as Stone Henge, itself an ancient temple of the sun.

3979409417_6e360e2848_z City of Bath  -  Somerset, England UK West Country  Somerset Bath   (above photo The circus © Adrian Sparrow)
3501990910_e2dd798815_b City of Bath  -  Somerset, England UK West Country  Somerset Bath   (above photo The Circus © Andy Clist)
3509993803_44dfe9c38d_b City of Bath  -  Somerset, England UK West Country  Somerset Bath   (above photo The Circus © Andy Clist)
3507828198_1f7ac507b8_z City of Bath  -  Somerset, England UK West Country  Somerset Bath   (above photo Temple of Sulis Minerva Roman Baths © Andrew Cameron)

3987487761_a79cda4647_o City of Bath  -  Somerset, England UK West Country  Somerset Bath

ave-5 Avebury Ring  -  Wiltshire, England UK West Country  Wiltshire Neolithic National Trust Megaliths Avebury

Avebury Ring – Wiltshire, England

985139747_51d26e104b_z Avebury Ring  -  Wiltshire, England UK West Country  Wiltshire Neolithic National Trust Megaliths Avebury   (above photo © Joe Dunckley)

Avebury Ring

Wiltshire, England
National Trust website
Event Calendar
http://www.avebury-stones.co.uk/ 

coordinates 51.4275131,-1.8549353

We gathered together outside the stone ring at Avebury – it is the world’s oldest dating from between 2,500-2,600 BC)and one of the largest with a diameter of 331.6m –  to experience a bit of druid magic.  Surprisingly enough, we did.

Equipped with copper divining rods (on loan) and open minds we began the circuit allowing our steps to be guided by touch, ley lines and gravitational pull.  The divining rods did rotate in our hands and quietly and surely guided us.   Most interestingly, it seems the sheep are also guided by the same forces!  Invariable the rods would cross as we reached the matted down depressions, where one of our furry friends had bedded down (or in some cases recently quickly vacated at our approach!)

ave-5 Avebury Ring  -  Wiltshire, England UK West Country  Wiltshire Neolithic National Trust Megaliths Avebury   (above photo © Kronsteen)
ave-6 Avebury Ring  -  Wiltshire, England UK West Country  Wiltshire Neolithic National Trust Megaliths Avebury
(above photo
© Jon Morris-Smith)

The rings symbolize an ancient power.  These megalithic monuments making it up are of an age with the Pyramids at Giza – and represent another engineering feet.  There were originally 98 sarsen (sandstone blocks)  standing stones, some weighting up to 40 tons and heights varying between 3 and 4.2 meters (10 & 13 ft.)  The moving and standing of these mammoth stones required a level of cooperation that to erect that still mystifies to this day.  If you find yourself anywhere near the ring – even if it is just as a country outing – it is worth the time 🙂

3987721205_3273c08b26_o Avebury Ring  -  Wiltshire, England UK West Country  Wiltshire Neolithic National Trust Megaliths Avebury

3987719525_8c6ed65933_o Avebury Ring  -  Wiltshire, England UK West Country  Wiltshire Neolithic National Trust Megaliths Avebury

3987720595_d36c792be1_o Avebury Ring  -  Wiltshire, England UK West Country  Wiltshire Neolithic National Trust Megaliths Avebury

3987720179_2ae06bc16e_o Avebury Ring  -  Wiltshire, England UK West Country  Wiltshire Neolithic National Trust Megaliths Avebury

 

3150019125_aa3dc206c8_z Avebury Ring  -  Wiltshire, England UK West Country  Wiltshire Neolithic National Trust Megaliths Avebury   (above photo South Circle stones 103, 102, 101 & 105 and the Tower of St James church © Jim Champion)
ave-3 Avebury Ring  -  Wiltshire, England UK West Country  Wiltshire Neolithic National Trust Megaliths Avebury   (above photo The Cove, which is the remains of the  northern inner circle © Steve Watson)
ave-0 Avebury Ring  -  Wiltshire, England UK West Country  Wiltshire Neolithic National Trust Megaliths Avebury   (above photo The Cove, which is the remains of the  northern inner circle  © Robert C)

Nearby is Silbury Hill which is the largest man-made mound in old Europe

196502693_f9518a361f_z Avebury Ring  -  Wiltshire, England UK West Country  Wiltshire Neolithic National Trust Megaliths Avebury   (above photo Silbury Hill © Martin Avtost)


ll Longleat  -  Wiltshire, England UK West Country  Zoo Wiltshire Somerset Sightseeng

Longleat – Wiltshire, England

3330944997_f15feef64e_z Longleat  -  Wiltshire, England UK West Country  Zoo Wiltshire Somerset Sightseeng   (above photo © Steve – jetbluestone)

Longleat

(44) 0 198  – 584 5420
(44) 0 198  – 584 4400
Longleat, Warminster,
Wiltshire, BA12 7NW  England

www.longleat.co.uk

LONGLEAT HOUSE OPEN HOURS:
10:00am   –   5:00pm  Monday – Thursday
10:00am   –   5:30pm  Friday – Sunday & Bank Holidays
SAFARI OPEN HOURS:
10:00am   –   4:00pm  Monday – Thursday
10:00am   –   5:00pm  Friday – Sunday & Bank Holidays
14th February- 22nd February,  Open daily
28th February-  29th March,  Weekends only
4th April – 1st November, Open daily

Set deep beyond the forests edge, past the rolloing lawns is Longleat House, one Britain’s most beautiful and stately homes and among the best examples of High Elizabethan architecture.   The first private residence to open its enormous doors to the public, Longleat is located near the towns of Warminster in Wiltshire and Frome in Somerset.  Built by Sir John Thynne, mainly designed by Robert Smythson, in 1580, Longleat recalls countless storybooks and postcards.  It is now home to the 7th Marquess of Bath, a direct descendant of Sir John Thynne, who is an artist, mural painter and sponsor to many aspiring artists.

Longleat House is set within 900 acres (400 hectares) of magnificent Capability Brown landscaped parkland.  A further 8,000 acres (3,200 hectares) of woodland, lakes and farmland surround the estate!  In the late 13th Century, a priory belonging to the Black Canons of the Order of St Augustine occupied the site where Longleat House now stands.

As you enter the property during spring, the road is bordered by a most beautiful garden of rhododendrons blooming in every colour.  There are many different activities to partake in, including the House tour, Longleat Hedge Maze, the Safari Animal park, Safari Boat ride, Longleat Railway, Grounds & Garden Walks.  The Library is also quite expansive, where books range from early medieval manuscripts to 19th and 20th-century children’s tales- much like air Longleat itself!

3987142939_712b63fe2f_o Longleat  -  Wiltshire, England UK West Country  Zoo Wiltshire Somerset Sightseeng

3987896700_129e42c932_o Longleat  -  Wiltshire, England UK West Country  Zoo Wiltshire Somerset Sightseeng

3987896020_736065f885_o Longleat  -  Wiltshire, England UK West Country  Zoo Wiltshire Somerset Sightseeng

3987142549_6c80d137fc_o Longleat  -  Wiltshire, England UK West Country  Zoo Wiltshire Somerset Sightseeng

ll1 Longleat  -  Wiltshire, England UK West Country  Zoo Wiltshire Somerset Sightseeng   (above photo giraffe © Steve Williams)
Glastonbury-003 Glastonbury Tor  -  Somerset, England UK West Country  UK Somerset Sightseeing Magic

Glastonbury Tor – Somerset, England

Glastonbury-003 Glastonbury Tor  -  Somerset, England UK West Country  UK Somerset Sightseeing Magic   path to the Glastonbury Tor

Glastonbury Tor

Somerset, England

 

Just hearing the name- Glastonbury- brings images to mind: Arthurian England and Avalon, magical druids, hordes of young people covered in mud listening to music.  In life, Glastonbury Tor truly is a magical place.  There is a reason that all these iconographic legends are attached to it.  When we caught our first glimpse of the Tor; we were struck by its perfection.  It appears as a hallucination, something too wonderfully perfect to be real.

As we climbed toward the tower on top of Holly Hill,  I couldn’t help but think of the hundreds of thousands of feet that have trod the same path over thousands of years.  Arthur trod here; for as long as man has been in England, he has walked these paths.  Saxon kings, Roman centurions, me.

The famous little town (10,,000 people) of Glastonbury is a bit hippie touristic these days.  What we did, and highly recommend, is to stop in and grab a picnic from the many organic food vendors who line the streets.  Definitely walk! Walk to the top of the High Street, make a right behind the abbey (duck in the back gate for a cute little garden and follow the signs up the back path towards the Tor.

We went totally hippie and brought divining rods (thanks Zoe!)- and I tell you they work!  It was amazing to watch them cross as we transgressed the ley lines and power spots.  One thing I found quite interesting, though in retrospect quite obvious, is that wherever I found a trampled oval from a resting sheep- I would invariably find a power spot where my rods would cross as fast as if someone grabbed them while in my hands!  If you didn’t bring a pair, grab one in any of the shops and head out to do some magic yourself – your in Avalon!

Glastonbury-007 Glastonbury Tor  -  Somerset, England UK West Country  UK Somerset Sightseeing Magic
Glastonbury-004 Glastonbury Tor  -  Somerset, England UK West Country  UK Somerset Sightseeing Magic

King-Johns-Tea-Room-007 King John's Hunting Lodge Tea House  -  Lacock Wiltshire, UK UK West Country  UK Tea Sweets Somerset Food

King John’s Hunting Lodge Tea House – Lacock Wiltshire, UK

3744363302_fa14ab214e_o King John's Hunting Lodge Tea House  -  Lacock Wiltshire, UK UK West Country  UK Tea Sweets Somerset Food


King John’s Hunting Lodge

Tea Room
(44) (0) 124 – 973 0313
21 Church Street
Lacock, Wiltshire, SN15  2LB
England

www.kingjohnslodge.2day.ws.

OPEN HOURS:
11:00am – 5:30ish pm   Tuesday – Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays

 

In the über picturesque village of Lacock, in a tiny Tudor building (1167 – 1216), behind a garden of poppies and wild flowers, sits the lovely King John’s Hunting Lodge Tea House.

3744363586_885b88fa95_o King John's Hunting Lodge Tea House  -  Lacock Wiltshire, UK UK West Country  UK Tea Sweets Somerset Food

Arriving along the ancient lane,  you float through the gate and garden. Soaking in the pure Englishness of the scene.  Pitched roofs, dripping windows, muted brick and bright flowers set the scene for an excellent spot of tea.

Our arrival on a cool early spring day, gave us an idea of how important these warm homey spots were.  Brushing off the chill we soaked up the warm ambiance.  Once settled, we indulged in the “King John’s Royal Tea”, which included delectable Tea sandwiches (A yummy Welsh Rarebit for me – wish I had one now!) & warm scones served with local fruit jams and organic Jersey clotted cream.


King-Johns-Tea-Room-002 King John's Hunting Lodge Tea House  -  Lacock Wiltshire, UK UK West Country  UK Tea Sweets Somerset Food   (above photo © Hiro Nakamura )
3743568267_5c2287bdfb_o King John's Hunting Lodge Tea House  -  Lacock Wiltshire, UK UK West Country  UK Tea Sweets Somerset Food

We spread it on everything we could!  Of all the scones and jams I’ve had, this sitting raised the bar yet again.  Looking at the origins, I could see this being the perfect calorie filled breakfast for farmers setting out for a day’s labor.

A lighter version is the “Margart’s Cream Tea” which is the same, without the sandwiches.   Pretty blue and white china bore all the treats in a manor befitting the period-ness of Lacock

A daily menu includes soups, homemade breads, delicious pastries, mackerel cakes and more!  There is a fine selection of tea, hot chocolate, coffee, spiced apple, elderflower presse, hot berry bliss … and a little shop for take away.

Really just a pleasant place to lunch – thoroughly English 🙂

3743568453_efdc3e1a25_o King John's Hunting Lodge Tea House  -  Lacock Wiltshire, UK UK West Country  UK Tea Sweets Somerset Food

3743568587_a3eb6eeb28_o King John's Hunting Lodge Tea House  -  Lacock Wiltshire, UK UK West Country  UK Tea Sweets Somerset Food