Broughton Poggs Blossoms at Cotswolds National Garden Scheme Tour

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Filkins and Broughton Poggs National Garden Scheme Garden Tour last weekend was an absolute delight. The gardens were wreathed in spring blossoms and the weather held with many glimpses of the sun before showers began at five o’clock.

IMG_7509It is a joy to visit the many beautiful private gardens on the NGS tours which cannot be seen other that through the open days organized by them.

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The owners work hard to bring the gardens to their peak to be ‘camera ready’ for the public and the proceeds from ticket sales benefit several important charities. A visit to a beautiful garden with wonderful tea and cake makes for a lovely day out.

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The Cotswolds setting of the two side-by-side villages of Filkins and Broughton Poggs could not be more picturesque with the River ……winding languidly between the gardens adding yet another dimension to their beauty.
IMG_7484Filkins House’s gardens boasted glorious fruit tree blossoms and…….
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a charming dry stone wall garden seat fashioned from Cotswolds stone. Perfect for lazy picnics or afternoon tea. The homemade cakes served at the tour in Filkins Village Hall were delicious, a highlight – Ginger fruit cake with Mascapone cheese spread liberally on top.
IMG_7514This garden in Filkins featured a 200 year old apple tree which spread a mantle of delicate pink and white blossom on the lawn.
IMG_7502The Grade II listed 18th Century Broughton Poggs Mill covered in Wisteria.
IMG_7504For a list of open gardens throughout the summer visit National Garden Scheme’s website
www.ngs.org.uk

Cotswolds Memoir:

Now available in Paperback, Kindle and Audio Book

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Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain
on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage
(Larrabee Libraries)

A portion of the proceeds of every copy of this author’s book COTSWOLDS MEMOIR: Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage is donated to Cotswold conservation institutions. Available on

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Help Save Downton Abbey’s Cotswolds Film Location

Many of Downton Abbey’s scenes are filmed in the medieval Cotswolds village of Bampton and as I was writing about this lovely place in the sequel to my book Cotswolds Memoir: Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage I came across this appeal (below) by Hugh Bonneville for a donation to help restore Bampton’s Old Grammar School (Downton Cottage Hospital in the series).

After I made a donation I was thrilled to receive this reply (below)

Thank you

Here is a revisit to my blog giving the history of ancient buildings used in scenes in Downton Abbey and lots more about the lovely Cotswolds village of Bampton.

A Downton Day Out

A Tour of Bampton’s Downton Abbey Locations 

Highclere Castle, Location for Downton Abbey- Daily Mail

The charming village of Bampton in the Cotswolds is used as a background to a number of outdoor scenes in the immensely successful television series Downton Abbey and this lovely spot is well worth a visit. Not only is it interesting to see where scenes of Downton Abbey are shot but there are many other attractions in Bampton that would make a leisurely sojourn there very memorable.

Bampton, or as it was once known Bampton-in-the-Bush, is situated in the county of Oxfordshire in the Thames Valley and is about four and a half miles southwest of Witney.

Visitors strolling around Bampton will recognize a number of buildings and streets that were used in scenes in Downton Abbey.

St. Mary’s Church

One of the locations frequently filmed in the series is Bampton’s church, St Mary of the Virgin which dates from the 12th Century. This church, like many ancient buildings in Britain was built on the foundations of an earlier structure and incorporates parts of the older building in the new edifice. In this case, St. Mary’s church was erected on the site of an Anglo-Saxon Minster. The tower was the only feature of the Minster that was spared and it is now part of the Church. St. Mary’s is also distinguished by its magnificent 13th Century spire.

William the Conqueror gave this church to the Bishop of Exeter and it has been rebuilt and added to many times through the centuries.

Cottage Hospital

Another location used in filming is Bampton Library which was used as the entrance to the cottage hospital that was portrayed in the second series of Downton Abbey.

According to Pevsner and Sherwood’s book The Buildings of England this library was once the Grammar school of St. Mary’s church and was built in 1653.

Isobel Crawley’s house

The Old Rectory which is close by St. Mary’s Church is used for the exterior shots of Isobel Crawley’s house in Downton Abbey. The south side of this building is late 17th Century and features five bays. The back of the house is older with a 16th century arched stone doorway and in the garden wall there is a stone inscribed with the date 1546. Next to the Rectory are 17th Century stables with a gabled dovecote built over them.

The interior scenes of Isobel Crawley’s house, however, are filmed at Hall Place near Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire.

Crawley_House interior

Downton Abbey’s conception

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The series is set in the fictional Downton Abbey, a Yorkshire country house, the grand home of the Earl and Countess of Grantham, and follows the lives and fortunes of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants through the reign of King George V.

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Gareth Neame of Carnival Films originally conceived the idea of an Edwardian-era TV drama set in a country house and suggested this concept to Julian Fellowes, who had won an Academy Award for Best Writing in the category of Original Screenplay for Gosford Park.

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Shortly, thereafter, Julian Fellowes gave Gareth Neame an outline of the first series. Julian Fellowes writes the series, and his wife Emma acts as his story editor.

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Bampton Annual Events

In addition to Bampton being used for locations of Downton Abbey this beautiful town features plenty of Cotswolds character and is well known for several quaint traditions that take place every year and have been doing so for the past several centuries. Visitors would do well to time a visit to take in one or more of these fun-filled events after viewing the Downton locations.

Shirt Race

Bampton Shirt Race

Once a year, on the Saturday of the Spring Bank Holiday there is a bizarre pub crawl organized by the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Junketing known as The Bampton Shirt Race. In past times the runners in this race were dressed in night-gowns and would compete in pairs with one runner pushing the other in a trolley. There was a time when there were fourteen pubs in Bampton and the race stops at every location for the competitors to down a large quaff of beer. Many of those public houses have now been converted to private residences but a stop at these former pubs is still included in the race. Nowadays, the race consists of larger teams using many different kinds of cobbled-together wheeled vehicles, such as prams, wheelbarrows and even wheelybins. These are used to transport the competitors who are costumed in outlandish fancy dress. There are prizes for the best outfits.

Morris Dancers

Morris Dancing

Bampton is well known for its Morris dancing which has been practiced in the village since the late eighteenth century. The town supports three world-renowned Morris Dance teams and the dancing is performed throughout the Monday of the Spring Bank Holiday in the latter part of May, beginning at 8.30 a.m. In the evening, visiting teams join in the dancing. Much is made of the traditional fertility cake which everyone samples as it is carried around the streets with the dancers.

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May Garlands

The charming tradition of May Garland making by the children of Bampton began several centuries ago. It takes place at 11a.m. in the market square on the Monday of the Spring Bank Holiday.

Donkey derby

Donkey Derby

A Donkey Derby is run on the Monday of the August Bank Holiday, and organized by the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Junketing. This begins at 2 p.m. at Sandford’s Field. In addition to the donkey races (all the jockeys are children) there are bric-a-brac stalls, skittles, Aunt Sally, crockery smashing and much more.

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The Mummers

The Mummers perform plays on Christmas Eve every year. These plays have been performed since the nineteenth century in Bampton but are most likely much older. These dramas have been handed down through family tradition by word of mouth as no scripts exist. In the Bampton version there are ten characters including Robin Hood, Father Christmas, a Prussian King, St. George etc. The plays are uniquely performed in two acts instead of the customary one. Pagan rituals may have figured in the original plays as the plot involves many scenes of characters being finished off and then magically being brought back to life. This could perhaps symbolize the end of the old year and the beginning of the new. Watching the Mummers perform is a wonderful highlight of the Christmas season.

Ladies

Ladies of Downton Abbey

Bampton Pubs and Restaurants

After all this fun a little refreshment might be in order.

The Romany Inn On Bridge Street in Bampton is an unassuming pub serving typical but good pub food.                                                               Accomodation available.  www.TripAdvisor.com

The Horse Shoes On the High Street in Bampton. No food or accommodation http://www.bamptonoxon-                                                                                       parishcouncil.gov.uk

The Trout at Tadpole Bridge Is well known for its fine dining and serves the best food for miles around. It is  just five minutes’ drive down the road from Bampton in Buckland Marsh Diners come as far away as London to eat at this excellent riverside gastro-pub. In summer there are tables in the garden which leads down to the Thames. Stroll by the river with a pre-dinner drink. Accommodation available. www.trout-inn.co.uk

Cotswolds Memoir:

Now available in Paperback, Kindle and Audio Book

Cotswolds Memoir_DizWhite

Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain
on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage
(Larrabee Libraries)

A portion of the proceeds of every copy of this author’s book COTSWOLDS MEMOIR: Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage is donated to Cotswold conservation institutions. Available on

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        amazon

 

Visit Landmarks of the Cotswolds that Reflect its Beauty

The shimmering, cool rivers, ponds and streams of the Cotswolds provide a wonderful mirror-image of the beauty of this forgotten-by-time region. Here are some reflections of the Cotswolds, captured in several of its most treasured landmarks.
Visit these lovely places and enjoy a few calming moments of contemplation by the soothing sounds of trickling water.

1Kiftsgate Garden

Kiftsgate Garden, near Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire
This garden, created by three generations of women, is a must-see. A series of interconnected garden rooms and descending terraces offer spectacular views, some of which are reflected in a pond overlooking an endless vista of the Cotswolds.

2Cornwell Manor in the Cotswolds is a Grade II listed Manor House in West Oxfordshire

This lovely garden evokes images of Downton Abbey in Edwardian times with beautifully gowned women and suave men in tuxedos, chatting, as they drink a pre-dinner sherry. Perhaps these dinner guests stroll, on a warm summer’s evening by the reflecting waters of the fountain, before pairing up to take their places in the elegant dining room of this matchless 17th Century manor.

4Prior Park Garden

This National Trust Grade I listed garden, Prior Park, just south of Bath, Somerset, is built high on a hillside with spectacular views of Bath as just one of its many attractions. It was created by local entrepreneur Ralph Allen and begun in 1734. There are few flowers and no formal beds in this garden; it is all about breathtaking views, restful green lawns, reflecting water from the lakes and a sculptural Palladian bridge, creating a mellow mood that is immensely pleasing.

5Shilton Open Gardens

Shilton, tucked away in the Shill Brook Valley, near Burford, Oxfordshire is a charming village with much to boast about. There is a traditional pub, The Rose and Crown, which serves delicious food, and camera-ready ducks that occasionally cause cars to swerve out of their way as they cross a nearby ford. The flower-bedecked gardens are so beautiful that they are opened to the public once a year for the National Garden Scheme. It was at an open garden that this wrought iron bridge was glimpsed, its delicate pattern making a mesmerizing reflection in the stream below.

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Westbury Court Garden

Westbury Court Garden near Gloucester and the Severn River on the edges of the Cotswolds is a revelation. It is the only 17th Century restored Dutch water garden in Great Britain. The National Trust rescued it in 1967 using an engraving of the garden from 1707 as a guide for its restoration. The calming trickle of the lily-covered canals, and the endless reflections from the gently rippling water make this garden a wonderful place for peaceful relaxation.

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Little Faringdon Mill Near Lechlade

There has been a Mill on this site for over a thousand years which is evident from its Domesday Book listing. The two photographs of the mill, above and below, give an indication of its idyllic setting with a charming barn and weeping willow trees reflected in the streams that lazily weave around this lovely property.

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Photographs by Randall Montgomery ©2014 Available for purchase at PublicityPromo@aol.com

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A portion of the proceeds of every copy of  COTSWOLDS MEMOIR: is donated to Cotswold conservation institutions.

Visit the Cotswolds for Lamb in Puff Pastry

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Cotswold Lamb in Puff Pastry Recipe

In Metric and Imperial measures
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

2 (8-ribs) rack of lamb trimmed of all but a thin layer of fat.
Use Cotswold Lamb if possible
1 package of ready-made puff pastry
¾ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg. (Use Cotswold egg if possible)

Seasoning:
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves of chopped garlic
2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
1 ½ teaspoon salt

Method:

Preheat oven to 350F/200C/180Cfan/gas 6

Prepare seasoning
Add the garlic, salt and rosemary to 2 tablespoons olive oil,
mix ingredients together, mashing the garlic so that it blends with the oil.
Set aside.

 

1

Prepare lamb:
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over high heat until hot
Meanwhile, pat lamb dry and rub meat all over with salt and pepper.
Brown racks, in 2 batches if necessary, on all sides about 10 minutes per batch.
Divide each rack into 4 double chops
Transfer racks to a roasting pan.
Spoon the seasoned oil over the lamb racks
Place racks in preheated oven and bake for 40 minutes

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Puff Pastry
As the lamb cooks roll out puff pastry to approximately ¼ inch (.75 cm) thick.
Cut the pastry into 8 rectangular sections of 3 x 5 inch (7.5×12.5cm) each
Beat the egg in a bowl with a dash of water.

After 40 minutes remove the racks of lamb from the oven
Place one section of pastry on each pair of chops and
brush with the beaten egg mixture
Decorate the top with extra bits of puff pastry
Return the lamb to the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes
or until the pastry is golden brown and puffed.
Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes
Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

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Prior Park Garden in the Cotswolds – A National Trust Must-See

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Prior Park is a must-see landscaped garden built high on a hillside with spectacular views of Bath as just one of its many attractions.
IMG_4641This National Trust Grade 1 listed garden was created by local entrepreneur Ralph Allen and begun in 1734.
IMG_4621Allen, who made his fortune by reorganizing the post office, took advice from the poet Alexander Pope and the garden designer Capability Brown before creating this masterpiece.
IMG_4618There are few flowers and no formal beds in this garden – it is all about breathtaking views, restful green lawns, reflecting water from the lakes and sculptural bridges – creating a mellow mood that is immensely pleasing.
IMG_4657Meandering across the elegant Palladian Bridge, one of only four left in the world, is a joy and there is much more to discover including: a Serpentine Lake, a Cascade, a summerhouse, and a horseshoe walk.
IMG_4655Winding and sometimes steep paths lead to hidden retreats, tranquil lakes, a ruined Gothic Temple, a Grotto and finally, stunning vistas over Bath. Prior Park was the matrix for style that became known as the “English garden”.
IMG_4623-1The Palladian mansion, which tops one of the garden’s sweeping green slopes and overlooks Bath, now houses Prior Park College and was designed by John Wood, the Elder in 1742. He was commissioned by Ralph Allen to build a house “To see all Bath, and for all Bath to see”.

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This house, with its classic symmetry, should be on the list of all the overseas visitors who, caught up in Downton Abbey fervor, are now interested in seeing other examples of the great houses of Britain.

Afternoon Tea can be taken at a tiny, clapboard tea house, with outdoor tables, tucked away in the foliage.
IMG_4647A five-minute walk from the garden leads on to a six mile circular walk around Bath, with amazing views, that passes through woodlands, meadows, an Iron Age hill-fort, Roman settlements, and an 18th-century folly.

Prior Park Garden is south of Bath, Somerset, by Ralph Allen Drive, and 3/4 mile (1.2 km) from the Kennet and Avon canal path. BA2 5AH

Click here for National Trust Link

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Romantic Cotswold Garden with a View – One of National Gardens Scheme’s Best

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WOOLSTONE MILL HOUSE GARDEN

Rambling, romantic Woolstone Mill House Garden, near Faringdon, is a real treat. Close to the hidden village of Woolstone with its pretty pub, The White Horse, it has many delights.
IMG_6523 This garden has just the perfect amount of blowsy charm – trim in the right places and charmingly shaggy in others.
IMG_6521 A stream trickles through it meandering under several rustic bridges and leading the visitor on to one interesting garden feature after another.
IMG_6518 A spectacular circle created by yew hedges whose focal point, two topiary sheep with carved stone heads, is enhanced by a backdrop of real sheep grazing in the meadows beyond.
IMG_6504 The wide swath of lawn in this circle is bordered by mixed herbaceous and shrub plantings and provides a splendid photo opportunity.
IMG_6514 There are medlars and old-fashioned roses, kitchen and bog gardens and numerous topiary in this two acre property.
IMG_6529 Snuggled in among the foliage is every child’s dream of a tree house. It is well worth the climb up as there are terrific views of White Horse Hill with the Uffington White Horse clearly visible.
IMG_6511 Sinfully rich home-made meringues with whipped cream and fresh raspberries were served, along with steaming cups of tea, in a picture perfect summerhouse at the end of the garden.
IMG_6512 A truly gorgeous garden with many quirky surprises.
IMG_6513Photographs by Randall Montgomery ©2014 Available for purchase at PublicityPromo@aol.com


Woolstone Mill House, Woolstone, nr. Faringdon, Oxon, SN7 7QL

Click here for NGS 2015 details

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