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© 2008 Mark Collins
West Country, England ~ 10th-13th July 2003
During July 2003, combining a trip to return Alan's mother home to Devon, we spend a few sunny days in the West Country exploring National Trust properties, disused railways and Parish Churches.
|En route to Devon we stopped off at Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire. |
This is the first view seen by the visitor on the approach to the house. The house was converted from the Abbey Church, the area of grass here covers the site of the cloisters.
The house was converted from a ruined Abbey in 1536 and is situated on the western bank of the River Test, with a spring (the 'font') nearby to the south west.
As well as a lovely garden, which contains a famous collection of old fashioned roses, the house has much of interest including a room painted in the 1930s by Rex Whistler.
Although the Roses are at their peak in June, the garden still had much to offer when we visited, the beds of herbaceous plants and shrubs, climbers on the walls, and gravel paths lines with lavender are lovely.
We, of course, were unable to leave the garden shop without buying a couple of plants (and an ice cream).
After touring the house and garden, we stopped in the village where I visited the pretty Mottisfont Church dedicated to St Andrew. This can be seen in my Churches Album.
|Arlington Court, near Barnstaple, is the ancestral home of the Chichester family. It was built in 1820 in rather a severe style. The interior contains a lovely suite of sunny rooms on the south front, and is full of fascinating items assembled by Rosalie Chichester in the first half of the twentieth century.|
Arlington also contains a carriage museum, here is one such carriage giving visitors a ride near the house.
We also visited the church, within sight of the house.
After a delicious lunch in the restaurant at Arlington Court, we decided to visit Heddon's Mouth, a National Trust beauty spot also owned by the National Trust. A mile from the car park, this cove is a gem.
I got soaked mucking about in the sea - just wish I'd had my trunks!
On the way back to Barnstaple we visited the ancient (and tiny) Trentishoe Church and also Coombe Martin, where Alan showed me where he was brought up and went to school (pictured).
Coombe Martin church is in my Churches Album and there is more about Alan and his family here.
|The next day, the 12th July, turned out to be a day of railway stations and churches!|
We had planned to visit the two villages of Lynton & Lynmouth on the north Devon coast. The first detour was Parracombe, where I noticed the church across the valley and we decided to stop. We were surprised to find that Parracombe has in fact two churches, Christ Church and the medieval St Petrock's. Both are in my Churches Album. Near to St Petrock's we found the remnants of Parracombe Station, on the former Lynton & Barnstaple railway which closed in 1935. Sadly not much left other than an in filled over bridge and the waiting shelter, both shown in the photos below, complete with the remains of the railway fence!