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Posts Tagged ‘villages of the uk’

Following up on my post from a couple of days ago, these are a few more of my favourite villages in England. The Channel 4 programme, Village of the Year is absolutely fascinating. I shall have to watch them again…get some more ideas of places to go – as if I don’t already have a list longer than I could do in 2 lifetimes…but hey, I might live to be 100….LOL

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East Grinstead, West Sussex

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Farnham, Surrey

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Kennett, Suffolk

Kennett – Domesday Book village

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Kentford, Suffolk

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Lavenham, Suffolk

Lavenham – Domesday Book village

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Lower Bourne, Surrey

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Marston Magna, Somerset

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Midhurst, Sussex

Midhurst had it all….a castle, a mill, a river, and quintessentially English cottages

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Moulton, Suffolk

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Newton-Ferrers, Devon

Newton-Ferrers is probably in my Top Ten favourite village of England. It was so gorgeous and the views of the river were stunning. At night it was quiet and peaceful with skies so black and stars so bright, you can’t imagine.

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I’ve been following Channel 4’s Village of the Year. There’s been some fantastic places so far, many of which I’ve followed up with the hashtags on instagram and added to my saved folder for villages; future travels….plenty of places, not enough time.

Watching the programme has reminded me of some of the stunning villages I’ve visited in the last 10 years.

When I launched Project 101 proper, I discovered that many of the villages I’ve visited in the past are Domesday Book villages which has been really exciting.

Of the many many places I’ve been, these are some of my favourite villages:

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Blackford, Somerset

Blackford – Domesday Book village

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Braeburn, Kent

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Camelot, Somerset

Seriously amazing views from this spot….well worth the climb. Not sure how accurate the tales of this being the location of Camelot, but it’s fabulous if it was.

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Castle Cary, Somerset

Castle Cary – Domesday Book village

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Cawsands/Kingsands, Cornwall

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Charlton Hawthorne, Somerset

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Chippenham, Somerset

Chippenham – Domesday Book village

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Compton Paucefoot, Somerset

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Corton Denham, Somerset

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Cottenham, Cambridgeshire

Cottenham – Domesday Book village

These are just 10 of my favourite villages…..more to follow shortly. Unfortunately I’m unable to review many of the other places I’ve been since the hard-drive that UPS lost is still….lost!!! Grrr.

Perhaps I should suggest they fund the costs of returning to those places….dream on LOL

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Ever since I first visited this area last year I’ve wanted to take a walk to Chirbury across the border in Shropshire. It’s 3 miles to Chirbury and my normal walking pace is 5 miles in 2 hours. My break time is only 2 hours and I can’t leave my client alone for longer than that, so in all 3 visits to this area, I’ve not yet been able to get there and back…6 miles; just over my pace limit.

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However, the daughter came to visit for 2 days, so on Friday I grabbed my chance. The weather was good, no snow or frost, and bright and more or less sunny. I suggested she make lunch for her Dad and keep him company while I took a brisk walk to Chirbury. So that is what we did…..this also gave me a break from meal preparation, which after preparing 3 meals a day for 16 days on the trot, the ‘excitement’ begins to wear a bit thin LOL

Donning thermals and thick socks, my fleece on, but sans hat and gloves (urgh., I cant believe I decided to leave them at home this trip), I grabbed my poles and set off for the 3 miles to Chirbury.

 

The roads here are narrow…..very narrow and at sections there is not even a sliver of space to step safely off the tarmac when traffic whizzes by. The roads are also very winding with a lot of dips and slopes, so often, even though you can hear the traffic approaching, you can’t see it….ergo they can’t see me either. It’s a tad nerve-wracking, so I keep my ears well clear and when I hear traffic approaching I get myself as far off the road as possible and turn to face the oncoming cars/vans/trucks and ensure they can see that I can see them. I wave and sometimes they wave back. It always amuses me when they swing their cars right onto the opposite side of the road….a tad over the top (no pun intended). But they whizz by safely and I get to continue in one piece. I only had to clamber into a hedge once on the whole 2.5 hour walk and that was coz I had heard a car approaching from behind a small incline, so grabbed some branches and pulled myself into the shrub as far as possible till the car went by….except the sound of his engine drowned out the sound of a 2nd car not far behind and I had no sooner returned to the road that the 2nd vehicle came flying over the top….this require split-second action and I jumped into the bush and grabbed whatever came to hand…..which left my hand all bloody and scratched. No worse than when the cat grabs my hand, but unpleasant.

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Welcome to Shropshire – Offa’s Dyke

Other than that, the walk went without incident and I relished the sounds of the countryside; birds tweeting and shrilling, sheep baaing across the fields, the occasional sounds of a tractor chuffing about, a horse snorting from behind a hedge, and a herd of cows snuffing their surprise when my head popped up above the edge of their shed. LOL

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20 miles from Salop

They are gorgeous creatures, such big doleful eyes and pink snouts….especially gorgeous when there’s a wall between me and them 😉 Unfortunately I couldn’t get close enough for a photo; would have entailed trudging through mud and the farmers property…suffice to say they were pretty. Still young. I always feel sad though when I see them knowing what lies in their future.

Chirbury, situated in the Vale of Montgomery and just over the border from Wales, turned out to be a lot smaller than I anticipated.

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Chirbury, Shropshire, England

The landscape is dotted with farms, a few grain silos give a clue as to the crops, a 12th century church; St Michael’s, the ubiquitous pub, a shop and Post Office, a scattering of houses, a barn turned into a pottery and nothing much else.  Apparently, according to the 2001 census it has a population of 971!!! I have no idea where they’re all hiding. Although they do have a nursery and primary school, so I guess there must be more houses than was immediately apparent. It’s more like a hamlet really, right on the crossroads of some connecting byways; namely the A490 and B4386 routes, whilst roads and lanes from six directions converge on the village. I’m guessing that’s pretty much how it came into being…..a crossroads developed over time.

According to wikipedia: “The placename was recorded in 915 as Ċyriċbyrig in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and as Ċireberie in the Domesday Book of 1086, and means “the fort with a church”. Its Welsh name, Llanffynhonwen, means “the church of the white well” or “…of the holy well”. The fact that it’s a Domesday Book village is thrilling…now I can add another to the growing list on Project 101.

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Houses in Chirbury

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Black and White House in Chirbury

The only church in Chirbury, St Michael’s, a Grade 1 listed building, is dedicated to the Archangel Michael. Built on the site of an earlier Anglo-Saxon church (circa 915), the current building dates from the 12th century with an addition in 1330 & the 18th century and restoration during the 19th century.  I love exploring the old graveyards attached to these country churches, they are so full of history.

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St Michael’s Church Chirbury

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I popped over to the pub; The Herbert Arms just in time for them to have closed up to go shopping! *sigh* I was looking forward to a nice hot cuppa and a scone with jam and cream before heading back. Oh well, no afternoon tea then.

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the Yorkshireman and his Wife

Instead I dropped in at the Post Office, bought a chocolate, used the facilities and made haste on my return to Montgomery. I got wet a couple of times, but managed the home journey without too much stress. I crossed over a couple of streams on the way and the River Camlad running east and north through the parish.

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River Camlad

“CHIRBURY, or Cherbury, a village and a parish in Salop; and a sub-district in Salop and Montgomery. The village stands in a fine vale, near the Welsh boundary, Offa’s dyke”

It was fab to see the border; Offa’s Dyke, between the two countries of Wales and England. I love that although there is a border on paper, the countryside doesn’t have any indication and just flows across hill and dale without a care.

By the time I got back, the light had faded and it was getting quite dark, the sun had disappeared behind a foggy cloud and I pondered the probability of carrying my visibility vest in future.

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welcome to Wales

In all a fantastic walk of 9.70kms/6.06 miles added to my January total of 36.9 kms / 23.06 miles – ergo 976.94 miles to go till 31.12.2018 LOL

Today my joints were quite achy and my feet felt really sore from pounding along the tarmac. Tarmac really is not kind to the old body.

I’m so glad I managed to get to Chirbury.

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hmmm, and the eternal question is: where does it go?  I have been back in London for just on 10 days and the days have whizzed by. I have moved on to North London and am staying at my friends place whilst she is in South Africa….great timing really. The days in Twickenham were great fun and CJ and I had some really special times together, either watching TV, working, chatting, strolling along the riverbank, eating out, munching our way through cupcakes, taking photos and having lonnnngggg conversations about the meaning of life.

view of the Thames at Richmond

the conclusion I have recently come to is that we really have to enjoy the moment. enjoy and appreciate where we are as much as is possible.  We are urged time and again to reach for goals and although that is good, so much of life is missed out because we are focussing on the future instead of the now.  I really slowed down the few days I had with my daughter and instead of stressing about work or money or getting blogs up or posting on twitter, I just enjoyed whatever time we had together.  I don’t get to see that much of her even when I am in London so those few days were really precious.  I even managed to surprise her on Sunday night with a mini-birthday party, which was great fun and she didn’t suspect a thing despite me never being able to keep a secret.

a surprise birthday party

we didn’t get to do the tour after all.  We woke late and I felt really ill (turns out I had food poisoning from the meal the night before), so we decided to just relax and chat and spend the day together, and it turned out just super.

The last few days have been spent updating records and sorting my photo albums.  I have joined a group on facebook that has a different theme every day and it has been a fun challenge to see if any of my photos are suitable.  Some of them have been well liked which is brilliant.  I really do love taking photos and think I will drive everyone nuts when I have a more sophisticated camera.  I already have over 22,000 photos!!! Hysterical.  Of course not all of them are good enough for publication, but most of them remind me of places I have been and things I have seen, and that is awesome.

a storm's brewing

we had a brilliant thunder storm yesterday with the accompanying lightening and a massive downpour which was pretty awesome.  My sweet sister-in-law is in labour and within the next day or so I will be an aunty again!!! yay! It’s a little girl and I am really looking forward to welcoming her.  They recently adopted two kiddies; a boy of 7 and a girl of 6 years old, so with the new baby on the way they are going to have their hands full.   They live in Hungary so sadly I don’t get to see them much, but I am hoping to make a trip there sometime later this year.

On the job front I have found absolutely nothing that excites me!!!! urgh. I loath doing job searches and this is no different.  So I am using the care work as a fall back till I find something that will be of interest.  Initially I was really annoyed with myself for using this as a fall back, but I have now made my peace with it. Instead of resenting this I have instead resolved to enjoy the fact that I can now visit some more villages or towns of the UK and add to my now very long list which is approaching 100!!! Way cool.   I am thinking of making a book about the villages as this will fit in with my dream of travelling around the UK in my campervan and blogging about the places I go (as mentioned in an earlier blog).

As I write I am watching the news of hurricane Irene in America and it looks frightening.  I can’t even begin to imagine such big storms.  We had awesome storms in South Africa but nothing like whats going on there.

So back to the web for more job searches.  How awesome it would be if I could just magic up a number of clients who need my credit control services and I could do what I really enjoy…..sorting, organising and fixing. 🙂

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So this morning I awoke to a full-blown panic attack!!! well actually, since I hardly slept last night I guess I didn’t wake to the panic attack, I just simply had one! Urgh! It’s the most horrible feeling. And coz I am working, and in someone else’s house I can’t even have a good old scream to release the tension. So squish the feelings and hold them at bay!

Yesterday was a very long day.  Sometimes I not sure which is worse…..working from 8am-11pm and being stuck indoors all day with not much to do and earning a wage, or being outdoors walking and exploring at my own will and not earning a wage!  Which is best? 🙂 hmmm. I think I should just abscond to India and become one of those mad english women who shuffle along barefoot, dressed in long white robes, their hair askew, unwashed, a begging bowl in hand and muttering all the way!!!  or perhaps I can install myself in a monastry high in the hills and go meditate and levitate!

On the plus side, the lady I am caring for at the moment gave me a set of books on London, she was going to discard. 4 small little paperbacks that tell the story of 4 different era’s in London’s history!  Whoohoo!! so fascinating. There should have been 8 books, but she is not sure where the others are. But hey, I am more than happy with the 4, already found some things I want to follow up on when I get back to London.  She is lovely, and is the type of person that I love about this kind of work.  Gentle and sweet, not condescending and hoity-toity.  It has been a pleasure to be here and if it was not for the fact that I know this is a rarity, I would quite happily do more of this.

Talking of which…..on the job front, I chucked in some random tags words into google yesterday and it spat out some really cool looking stuff. Will have to be a little more targeted and I may just find something right up my alley.  Of course I have to remind myself that what I really want to be doing will pull me in two directions!  My love is London; to walk around exploring, taking photos, blogging about it and (somehow) getting paid to do so. My desire is to drive around the UK in a campervan, visiting little villages and out of the way beauty spots, exploring, taking photos, blogging about it and (somehow) getting paid to do so! Hahahaha. A metaphorical fork in the road of my destiny!  Which way do you think I should go?

During my break today I headed off to visit the village church. There has been a church in halstead for over 1,000 years and unusually for one of these little villages, this church its situated right on the outskirts.  On my way there I visited the ancient site of a tiny medieval church built on Saxon foundations, now tumbled down and overgrown with ivy and weeds, the remaining headstones, some of which date back to the late 1700’s line the wall which is about 2 feet thick.  The site is English heritage and considered to be of significant interest….I’d agree.  It’s set back in a forested area, quiet and peaceful as most of these places are – the only sounds; birdsong and the crunch of breaking wood underfoot.

the medieval church

From there I continued my meandering and discovered the ‘New’ Church. Built in the late 1870’s, in the style of the 13th century, a delightful little building with a bell tower much too tall for it’s size.  I was in luck……a service was just finishing as I arrived so I waited patiently in the churchyard, studying the headstones and sitting quietly under a shady tree till they left the building.  I then slipped in quietly for a look round.  Beautiful.  These country churches are something to see. Filled to the brim with memorials and mementoes of parishioners gone by, amazing stained glass windows of intricate glasswork shaped into pictures, some too beautiful to imagine.  In some instances the history goes back hundreds of years and many are built on the remains of ancient medieval, Saxon or Tudor sites.

the 'new' church

It’s been a beautiful day and I am delighted to have discovered another marvellous little village.

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I have been very fortunate to have travelled quite extensively around the UK and visited many of her fair counties.   Most people would say that Kent is the most beautiful, and it known as The Garden County’.  I have to agree that it is exceptionally beautiful.  However, I would have to say that I am quite unable to say which is exactly ‘the most beautiful’ when a visit to Suffolk enchants and delights, a visit to Somerset leaves you gasping at the joy of the fields and villages, Devon leaves you breathless with her fabulous cliffs and seascapes and Cornwall is a delight of hidden coves, beaches, and quaint fishermen’s hamlets.  A trip to Scotland will leave your mouth agape at the splendour: craggy towering mountains, deep blue bottomless lakes that stretch as far as the eye can see, purple heather that rolls over windswept hills, thundering waterfalls that rush downstream, and weather that thrills you to the core with its violence and thunder.  Wales is a magical mix of green and blue, bubbling streams, ancient streets in tiny hamlets.  So in all I have to say that pretty much ALL of the UK is fabulous.

Presently I am residing in a little village in Kent.  I arrived at a 2 platform station set amongst the wild green growth of summer in full bloom, and marvelled that the train didn’t just whizz by and miss the station if the driver blinked his eyes.  Tiny little place with the quirky name of Knockholt!  The area is gorgeous, winding roads that twist and turn between the towering hedgerows I mentioned before, with just a glimpse of fields behind at the gaps and gates.  The villages perch precariously close to the roads, with just a small patch of garden between the house and tarmac.  But what gardens they are!  A glorious abundance of delicate english flowers, thorny blackberry bushes, now just starting to bear fruit that ripens into plump black berries that tease the tastebuds.

picturesque houses

As with most villages in the counties, old houses many of which date back to the 1800’s and earlier line the main road.  You usually find a church that has a history going back to the middle ages and farther; into the mists of time.  Farmers fields abound, cows at the gate testimony to the time.  A post office and a viallge store the sum total of commercialism and now and then a B&B or a little gift shop that doubles as a tearoom….where more often than not you can partake of a delicious, freshly baked scone with home-made jams and cream so think you can almost cut it with a knife.

Yesterday was fresh and lovely, so during my break I went walkabout.  The roads are narrow and there is precious little space for pedestrians but coz it’s so quiet, you can hear cars coming well before they reach you.  There is always a gap in the hedge for safety. 🙂  As mentioned above, the houses that line the main road are quaint and tiny, with quirky names and gorgeous gardens, but as you walk farther away down side roads the properties and houses are of a size that beggar belief.  Massive green lawns that must surely need an army of gardeners to keep under control, and houses that would fit the rest of the village comfortably within.  Seriously they are huge!!! one has to wonder why people need such massive houses to live in!  I passed a secretive, ancient woodland, trees twisted in grotesque shapes, creeper that clings and there is nothing that can quite match that musty smell.  I was on the search for the church, but apparently didn’t walk far enough, so that will have to wait for another day. (some more photos)

There are two pubs; The Cock Inn from 1718 (I know!!!) and The Rose & Crown.  One of the houses is just gorgeous with white walls and pale yellow shutters.  I stopped at a gap in the hedgerow and just enjoyed the fields tucked away behind it, dotted with wild flowers and birds; magpies hopping about as they do.  They are such strange birds they way they walk about like a parody of an undertaker.  Evidently the village is growing if you count the houses that have been built along the winding roads, and a drive through the village belies the extent to which it has spread.  I love to poke and peer and sometimes venture into places I probably shouldn’t be….but in doing so I find all sorts of interesting things…..like a huge field dotted with children’s play equipment, swings, a slide, a trampoline, football posts and a jungle-gym!. Who would have thought!

cutesy inns

This is definitely one of the perks of the work I do, travelling to tiny little villages in the depths of the countryside.
However, my heart is always in London and I do miss my frequent walkabouts.  I was riding on the bus from Lancaster Gate to Turham Green the other day and realised that despite my ‘frequent’ walkabouts, I have so much still to explore!  I have barely touched kensington, Chelsea and those areas of London.  So now that I am out ‘that way’, so to speak, I will be sure to hop on the bus into town for more excursions! 🙂 can’t wait!

On the job front….been doing lots of research into office type jobs, but it’s a no go as far as I can see. Mostly need experience again on programmes I haven’t worked on before! As mentioned!  I have started to broaden my horizons and searching for jobs with more adventurous and interesting features.  Hmmmm, some really cool jobs out there.  I saw a good one for a P.A. In Richmond, but they require First Aid experience, so have saved it for further perusal.  Only 30 hours a week and a fairly good rate per hour. Might be a possibility.  I think I would actually like to get something in travel or within the travel industry….preferrably an outdoors type of job! Can’t bear the thought of being tied up for 9 hours a day indoors.  So am looking, looking.  I am writing up a list of things I enjoy most and working on that. Will be interesting to see what comes of all my tag words in google. Wonder what it will spit out.  Of course my ideal job would be as a companion to someone on a cruise ship….now that I could enjoy! 🙂

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