|St Marys Parish Church at Dymock|
It’s week two of our visit back to the UK and the weather is really good, sunny with mainly clear skies, little wind and temperatures close to 20⁰C, absolutely ideal! So far it looks to continue, although it may be a little cooler by the weekend.
Our housesitting at Richard and Judith’s splendid house, looking after five cats is proving to be a great stay, the house is large and beautifully furnished, the country views fabulous and all cats a joy to have around, it just couldn’t be better!
|Inside the ancient church|
|Even goats like a bit of fuss!|
After our hectic weekend with Charles and Caroline, Jackie’s nephew and niece, we’ve had time to ourselves and, yesterday took ourselves on a local country woodland walk of 10 miles called the Daffodil Way, starting and finishing at the nearby village of Dymock in Gloucestershire. It’s a small village of 1200 people that is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086AD (http://www.domesdaybook.co.uk/), along with its parish church of St Marys. Not much of the history of the church is known, other than it’s Norman, its approximate age is nearly 1000 years, it was restored in 14th century and it is believed it became almost a ruin before being restored once again (http://www2.glos.ac.uk/bgas/tbgas/v069/bg069078.pdf) . It made a pleasant start to our walk after parking outside the Beauchamp Arms pub, hoping to stop for a beer at the end.
|Spring lambs amongst the sheep parents|
Armed with our walk leaflet of the Daffodil Way (borrowed from Richard and Judiths house), we set off around 11:20am, took four hours to complete the walk only to find the pub closed when we got back – what’s the use of parking outside a pub if it’s closed when you want to use it, particularly as the anticipation of real ale at the end drove us on! We had to return home, crack open a bottle of IPA and drink it in the hot conservatory instead!
|A fine example of a weeping willow tree|
Anyway, the walk took us through some fabulous countryside and woodland and we can thoroughly recommend it, even though we did add about half a mile to it when we went slightly wrong, even now we can’t understand how that happened, we followed the directions to the letter, following the brook and not going over the bridges as stated, so we think it was badly worded.
|The very splendid Norman church of St Marys in Kempley|
We re-found the route and continued on, stopping at another ancient church also called St Marys, this one at the village of Kempley. It is much better preserved than the one at Dymock and is described as an Exquisite Norman Church. It was built in 1130AD and has, on its internal walls, some of the most important and well preserved Medieval wall paintings in England. They were discovered in 1872 hidden behind layers of whitewash and are among the most complete 12th century religious paintings ever found in England and are of international significance.
|Inside the church showing the wall paintings|
The church is believed to have been built by Walter de Lacy, who fought with William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings and gained land in England and Wales and the original wooden roof is the oldest most complete wooden roof structure anywhere in the British Isles and is amongst the oldest in Europe. Not bad for a small parish church we just happened across!
|Close up of one of the walls showing the paintings|
|Original paintings in the church|
I suppose the warm sunny weather helped us enjoy the walk, but the rolling green hills, the woodland just coming into leaf and the green undergrowth dotted with white and yellow flowers, the odd bluebell opening early, the first smells of wild garlic, the friendly goats and horses coming over for strokes, the pheasants making a break for it through the undergrowth as we approach and the spring lambs bouncing around made it a typical but fabulous British country scene.
|One of the oldest doors in the British Isles|
Today? Taking it easy, baked more cake and mowed the lawn. There is supposed to be a gardener, but so far he hasn’t turned up, so I got the petrol mower out and did it myself. It’s a big lawn! Took nearly two hours in the hot sun so I felt I had earned the tea and a big slice of freshly baked cake!
|Friendly horses come over for strokes|
|Me 'n Er in the afternoon sun|
|The end-of-walk beer and crisps. No walk is complete without it!|