Monthly Archives: June 2017

The Symonds Yat Rock in the Forest of Dean


The Symonds Yat Rock in the Forest of DeanThe Forest of Dean is one of the most ancient surviving woodlands in England, it is situated between the picturesque valleys of the Severn and Wye Rivers in an area of 110 square kilometres and is the second largest crown forest after the New Forest. Before 1066 the Normans reserved the Forest of Dean for royal hunting. The name of Dean can be translated as “Land of Danes” following the Viking settlements in that era.

The Wye Valley has been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, as it is one of the most dramatic and scenic areas in England. The viewpoint at the gorge of the River Wye is known as the Symonds Yat Rock. The cliff is about 120 m high, with The Symonds Yat Rock in the Forest of Deanan observation deck at the top in the shape of a balcony with masonry walls on three sides. From this spot you can admire the incredibly beautiful, mesmerising and delightful view of the valley. The bend of the Wye River is in the form of a horseshoe, surrounded by cliffs and woodlands. In clear weather, The Symonds Yat Rock in the Forest of Deanvisibility can stretch over several miles.

Symonds Yat was named as one of The Seven Natural Wonders of the West County. Yat is the old English word for “gate” or “gorge”. The Rock was named in honour of Robert Symonds, a 17th century sheriff of Herefordshire.

On the sides of the River Wye valley there are the villages of Symonds Yat West and Symonds Yat East, where you will find a number of country pubs and guesthouses. One, called “The Old The Symonds Yat Rock in the Forest of DeanCourt Hotel” in Symonds Yat West, was built in the 16th century and was originally the home of John Graves Simcoe, the founding father of Upper Canada who abolished slavery there. In this village there is also a large caravan camping site and an amusement park. Tourist activities like canoeing and kayaking are very popular here. In addition, a deep gorge in the river Wye valley is popular for rock climbing.

The Forest of Dean is unique in its flora and fauna. Here there are deer, wild boars, peregrine The Symonds Yat Rock in the Forest of Deanfalcons that nest annually on the rock, buzzards, goshawks, as well as rare butterflies, such as the pearl-bordered fritillary, wood white, Laminitis Camilla. Also here you will find many deciduous and evergreen trees such as oak, poplar, beech, pine, sweet chestnut, conifer and larch. The Forest of Dean timber was used for building ships for the Royal Navy, including Admiral Nelson’s “Victory”.

The Forest of Dean is a geographical, historical and cultural region. In the valley caves, archaeologists have discovered the remains of Hyena, Sabre-toothed cat bones and mammoth. Clothes and tools found in the caves confirmed the assumptions about their human habitation during the Iron Age 12,000 years ago.

Around 50 AD, during the Roman invasion, the area was used for coal mining and was the earliest use of coal for domestic heating and the preparation of iron ore. During the industrial revolution the region achieved national importance in the production of iron. The steel industry pioneer Robert Forester Mushet (1811 – 1891), started the metallurgical industry and his son invented carbon steel.

This extraordinary and amazing natural landscape is the perfect setting for any would be photographer. Once visited Symonds Yat Rock will leave you with a lasting impression of a most beautiful grand valley during your travels.

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The fantastic Italian gardens of Peto in Ifford


The fantastic Italian gardens of Peto in IffordTravelling along the A36 we spotted a sign saying “ Efford Manor” just out of curiosity we decided to turn off and have a look. SuddenlyThe fantastic Italian gardens of Peto in Ifford on the bank of the river From in the valley of Ifford there was this absolutely magical place. The Medieval Manor of Ifford, it is located between Bath and the town of Bradford – on – Avon on the steep southern slope of the valley.

In the 14th century the estate belonged to the Carthusian monastery but has since been sold The fantastic Italian gardens of Peto in Iffordseveral times. In 1899 Harold Peto a renowned architect and garden The fantastic Italian gardens of Peto in Ifforddesigner, bought it and created the most amazing Italian gardens on the terraces at the back of the house. Before acquiring the Manor house he had travelled extensively around Italy and the French Riviera designing houses with gardens for other people and at the same time collecting architectural objects to decorate his future dream of an Italian garden embodying all that he had learned during his travels.

When in 1899, Peto visited Ifford, he realised that this is where his dream would come true. The fantastic Italian gardens of Peto in IffordThe steep slopes descending to the river were ideal the conditionsThe fantastic Italian gardens of Peto in Ifford for his Italian garden, for which terracing was the main element. His idea of an ideal garden is a combination of architecture and plants. He did not have big finances but he managed to carry out numerous commissions in England and Ireland giving him the funds to create his ideal Italian gardens using the classical techniques and architectural features of Italian garden design from his projects.

After Peto’s death in 1933, the garden gradually fell into decline but in the 1970s was restored The fantastic Italian gardens of Peto in Iffordin accordance with the ideas of Harold Peto by the new owner a Miss Elizabeth Cartwright. Today, the gardens are open for visitors fromThe fantastic Italian gardens of Peto in Ifford April to October. Art festivals, jazz concerts and opera performances are held annually mostly at weekends.

The gardens have a grand terrace walk along which he displays some of his
classic vases, sculptures, antique sarcophagi and other artefacts from his collection all surrounded by cypresses, junipers, wisteria and lots of assorted flowers among theThe fantastic Italian gardens of Peto in Ifford colonnades, statues and pools that abound in these The fantastic Italian gardens of Peto in Iffordbeautiful gardens. There is also an octagonal arbour of the XVIII century, well paved with stones surrounded by flowering irises and an oval basin with flowering lilies. Finally, we have a beautiful pavilion with marble columns from the 13th century all the way from Verona. From each terrace, there are delightful romantic views of the river valley and the surrounding villages.

At Iford, Peto, created the Italian fairytale garden he had always dreamed of.

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Stow-on-the-Wold, the oldest town in England


Stow-on-the-Wold, the oldest town in EnglandI heard about this old town many times from a friend of mine, he told me that this is one of the oldest towns in England and all along the streets when passing old cottages, elderly ladies would invite you in for tea. I wanted to visit this town and experience some of the old English traditions in that place.

The last time my friend visited this place was about 30 years ago and Stow-on-the-Wold, the oldest town in Englandof course we no longer found the old ladies who invite you in for tea. Also none of the current residents we asked could remember this Stow-on-the-Wold, the oldest town in Englandpractice from the old days. But the feeling of antiquity and days gone by has been preserved on the main streets where there are many cozy cafes, serving traditional English high tea with scones and clotted cream.

Located in the Cotswold Hills, Stow was founded by the Norman lords as a trading center since it was well located at the intersection of several trade routes. In the center of the town there isStow-on-the-Wold, the oldest town in England Stow-on-the-Wold, the oldest town in Englanda main square where the ancient cross still exists which was used for selling horses, sheep and wool. The fair grew and the town prospered. The tradition of holding the fair has survived until now but has now been moved to the outskirts of the town.

Originally the town was called Stow St Edward in honor of its patron Saint. The Church of St. Edward was built in the center of the town in the 11th century where amazing stained glass Stow-on-the-Wold, the oldest town in Englandwindows still survive. During the Civil War (1842 – 1851) royal prisoners used to spend the night in the church. Stow was of great Stow-on-the-Wold, the oldest town in Englandimportance in the battles of that war. Often the royal and parliamentary armies passed through this town. In 1845 King Charles spent the night in the “King’s Arms” inn.

In March 1846, in a field near the town of Stow, the last battle took place between the royal army under the command of Sir Jacob Astley and the parliamentary army of Colonel Thomas Morgan. The Royal forces were defeated and were forced to retreat, the battle continued right to the town’s square and according to legend, ” Blood flowed downStow-on-the-Wold, the oldest town in England Stow-on-the-Wold, the oldest town in EnglandDigbet Street”.

The captive Royalists were subsequently released under oath never to take up arms and commander Sir Jacob Astley was imprisoned in Warwick Castle. Thus, the last battle of Stow ended with the defeat of the royal army and ultimately the execution of the king, which laid the foundation of the British parliamentary democracy. Some names in the town remind us of past historical events, such as: “The Kings Arms” and “The Royalist Hotel”.

There are many old pubs in the town, one of them “The Porch House” claims to be the oldest Stow-on-the-Wold, the oldest town in Englandin England, built in 947 AD. I recommend you not to miss any of the Stow-on-the-Wold, the oldest town in Englandpubs and most certainly visit them all; each of them is unique in its design. In addition, in this town it is simply pleasant to take a walk and admire the ancient architecture: most of the cottages are built from the local Cotswold stone, mined in the area. Around the square and along the main street there are beautiful antique store, souvenir’s shops and art galleries.

Stow is indeed one of the oldest towns of England and one of the most picturesque in the Cotswold Hills.

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The Epsom Derby


The Epsom Derby Ordinary people all over the world enjoy horse racing, for many years, a favourite sport for Kings and the aristocracy. The first records of racing horses date back to 1000 BC in India. The start of The Epsom Derbyhorse racing in England, took place in 1309 and mass races were first held in 1776 in Doncaster, where grand stands were erected along the racetrack for the visitors. The event was named “St Leger” in honour of the army officer and politician Anthony Saint-Leger who developed the sport. Since then, every year in September, competitions for three-year old stallions at a distance of 2937 meters have been held. The Doncaster Cup is the oldest prize in the world. The Epsom DerbyThe “St Leger” inspired a number of similar events around the world.

The Derby competitions are held annually in early June, not far from The Epsom DerbyLondon near the village of Epsom, the second oldest of the five classic races after the “St. Leger”. In 1779, Edward Smith-Stanley, the 12th Earl of Derby on the occasion of his wedding decided to organise horse racing on his estate named “The Oaks”. The overall winner of these races was Bridget, a horse that belonged to Lord Derby himself. The races at Epsom became one of the leading events in the British calendar and have been named after Lord Derby.

AscotLast weekend, I visited the Epsom races. These are slightly different from the competitions held at Ascot, which are traditionally visited Ascotby the Queen. In Ascot, people and specially the ladies dress extravagantly in expensive designer clothes and participate in competitions for the most original hat. Every year the outfits become more sophisticated and some of them completely outrageous, giving the  Ascotimpression that this is a competition of outfits rather than racehorses.

In Epsom, a huge area of the hill opposite the stands is reserved for the mass audience of ordinary English people who do not want to participate in the races for the best “dress code”. They come hereThe Epsom Derby with their families, hold picnics on the grass, participate in the extensive Fun Fair nearby or walk around the huge shopping market and many snack bars serving take away food and soft drinks. Sitting on the hill one can very clearly watch the events taking place on the racetrack. Those that wish to actually be on the racetrack, buy tickets and reserve places on the grandstand, dressed in beautiful outfits with most of the men sporting top hats while the ladies arrive in elaborate head dresses slightly resembling ladies day at Ascot.

The Epsom DerbyMost people who go there tend to make a bet or two. Winnings depend on the total amount of betting on the races. Sometimes if anThe Epsom Derby unpredictable outcome happens they can be very large. For example: if a horse, that is not favoured will have increased odds as very few people will bet on it, but if it does come in first the winner will benefit greatly. It is known that in 1995 the biggest prize of £153000 was paid out in Nottingham for a bet of only 5 pence. Most racehorse owners are extremely wealthy individuals, who take part in this sport for prestige and for the love of horses such as the Queen.


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Lynmouth, the most delightful place for the landscape painter


Lynmouth, the most delightful place for the landscape painterThe famous English artist of the 18th century, Thomas Gainsborough spent his honeymoon there with his bride. He named Lynmouth the most delightful place for the landscape painter.

In fact, the best place for an artist could be most of Exmoor, where Lynmouth is situated. Exmoor is a National Park in South – West England, occupying an area of about 600 km², part of an ancient Lynmouth, the most delightful place for the landscape painterroyal hunting forest. The name Exmoor is derived from the name of the river Exe that runs through it.

On the Exmoor coast, there are some of the highest coastal cliffs in England with a height of more than 300 meters. One can view the delightful seaside landscape with waterfalls, ravines and cliffs by travelling along the South West Coast Pass, one of the longest national trails in England and Wales stretching to 1014 km. Beginning at Minehead, it runs along the entire south west coast.

Lynmouth, the most delightful place for the landscape painterExmoor Park, contains 208 scheduled monuments of national importance and 16 conservation areas, in 2005 it was named as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Britain. The beauty of Exmoor is derived from its unique nature of coastal wastelands, swampy Lynmouth, the most delightful place for the landscape painterlandscapes, primeval forest, overgrown lichens, mosses and ferns. Wild heather and mosses cover a quarter of the wasteland. Oak, ash, hazel and coniferous species dominate most of the forest. Two species of white beam tree are also unique to Exmoor. In addition, the highest birch in the UK grows in this forest. Several areas of the park are named as sites of special scientific importance due to their unique flora and fauna.

Lynmouth, the most delightful place for the landscape painterExmoor ponies are one of the oldest breeds of pony in the world and may be the closest breed to wild horses remaining in Europe. Early in the morning on the hillsides and wastelands you can see red deer. In Lynmouth, the most delightful place for the landscape painter2010, hunters killed the largest animal of Great Britain, a red deer known as the Emperor of Exmoor, believed to have been 12 years old. Hunting for deer in the UK is officially authorized only to licensed hunters. Also there is a legend about the giant cat of Exmoor, although there is practically no documentary evidence.

Exmoor is mentioned in several literary English classics, such as Richard Blackmore’s “Lorna Dun” a romantic and fascinating love story of a girl from an aristocratic family and the Duns robbers.

Huge uninhabited spaces create an impression that the place is deserted as the villages are few Lynmouth, the most delightful place for the landscape painterand far from each other. We once travelled by car through the forest and wasteland of Exmoor, we met no one except plenty of Exmoor Horns and Whiteface Dartmoor sheep as well as many cows and ponies grazing along the road, they were quite friendly, sociable and they did not run away when approached.

The village of Lynmouth is located in a gorge on the northern edge of Exmoor at the Lynmouth, the most delightful place for the landscape painterconfluence of the West Lin and East Lin rivers. A geographical Lynmouth, the most delightful place for the landscape paintercondition of the settlement is the reason for the constant danger of flooding. The last terrible flood happened when a storm raged in August in 1952, the rainwater merged into the village and the river overflowed into the streets. More than 100 buildings were demolished, bridges were destroyed and cars were washed into the sea. After this catastrophe, the village was rebuilt and the necessary outlets for floodwaters around the village were created.

Lynmouth is always filled with tourists strolling along the main street or visiting small boutiques, Lynmouth, the most delightful place for the landscape paintercafes and antique shops. On sunny days people sit on benches by the water of the picturesque harbour eating fish and chips. This being the British national take-away, it is impossible to imagine a seaside town or village in Britain without a “fish&chips” shop.

You can travel by the cliff railway from Lynmouth to the village of Lynmouth, the most delightful place for the landscape painterLynton, located at the top of the cliff above the harbour at an altitude of 210 meters above sea level. You can also get there by car via a Lynmouth, the most delightful place for the landscape paintersteep bendy mountain road. Lynton is no less a picturesque place, with some streets offering a delightful view of the harbour and the Exmoor lands. One of its most beautiful buildings is the Town Hall, built in 1900 as a gift from Sir George Newnes. Souvenir shops with Lynmouth, the most delightful place for the landscape painterunusual items, toy town cottages in narrow alleys, old English pubs, coffee houses and tearooms as well as art galleries abound in this village.

Spending a couple of days in these places is not only a visit into bygone days but also an enjoyable walk along the path of the Exmoor heartland.

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