Friday, 15 August 2008

We have enjoyed our 'holiday' at home, relaxing and seeing friends etc. On Wednesday I went to see Mamma Mia - which is hysterical, well worth seeing for a good laugh! Anyway we decided to take an overnight trip to the Peak District, eldest daughter wanted to visit the Blue John Mines and we all wanted to see Chatsworth - I will post about those over the weekend. Our overnight stop was in Castleton - in the Hope Valley. Such a beautiful part of the country - and Castleton was very picturesque, as the following will confirm!

Miners cottages by the stream

Peveril Castle overlooks the village - we will walk up the hill next time we visit!

The Market Place

A view up the lane to one of the caverns

Lots of quaint little cottages to see.

Bargate Cottage B&B. This was a great place to stay. The rooms are cosy and comfortable, and the breakfast was very enjoyable. The hostess is super and I hope we get to visit again, maybe next year.

The cavern in the village has a rather cheeky name, apparently Queen Victoria visited it and there was an attempt to change the name - but it didn't happen. Take a look a the website:-

Saturday, 9 August 2008

We have decided to stay at home this year and have what I think is being called a 'Staycation'. One of the local attractions is Witley Court, and in all the years we have lived here we have never visited - so we put that right the other day. Witley Court was one of the premier country houses of the Victorian period - but was devastated by fire in 1937. It is now an amazing ruin, but with one of the best fountains in europe - apparently!

Up to the main entrance with its tremendous columns, and into what was once an amazing entrance hall. In the Victorian age Lord Dudley was the owner, and often was host to the aristocracy, including the Prince of Wales, giving sumptuous parties. At Christmas it is said that he had the Christmas Tree in the 69ft ballroom hung with precious jewellery, from which the lady guests could choose a piece to take home with them! That's my kind of party!

When you go through the house to the back you catch a glimpse - and then

Dudley commissioned the leading garden designer W A Nesfield to provide him with a suitably grand srrounding, and James Forsyth created the magnificent fountain 'Perseus and Andromeda'. The main jet in this fountain reaches at least 90', and there are lots of smaller ones, all pumped from a nearby pool - in turn supplied by a reservoir over half a mile away and 100' above house level. I had been looking forward to seeing this amazing structure - but in reality it exceeded all expectations.

As if this is not enough there is something else worth seeing at Witley - and that is the Church.
Although a tiny parish church it is said to be the finest baroque church in England - please enlarge the photos to see the exquisite detail, I was lost for words.