Parks, Valleys and Abbeys

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We a took a short, spontaneous trip to finish off 2016. What started out as a day-trip ended up as one night at an Airbnb in Ledbury, in Herefordshire. I came up with the route just a day or so before, which included a stop at Dyrham Park on the first day, and Tintern Abbey on the second. Anything we had time fore in between would be a bonus.

We continue to enjoy our National Trust membership as a way to explore historical and beautiful places in the UK. Dyrham Park is an ancient deer park with a 17th century estate on the grounds. It was a cold and sunny day, which was perfect for enjoying a walk and looking out into the countryside views. We took a walk with a naturalist guide, who told us about the deer that roam the area.

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Turns out, we had time for a quick stop in the Cotswolds before heading to our overnight spot. The sun was fading and so were we, after all the walking in Dyrham Park. We stopped in Tetbury, hoping for a warm drink, but everything was already closing up for the day. We made due with a pretty sunset and a short walk around.

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We didn’t spend a lot of time at our Airbnb, but we had a lovely host, who pointed us in the direction of a good pub that evening. We slept in soft comfortable beds and woke up early to the quiet of the frosty countryside. We headed into Ledbury for the most delicious French toast at The Market House Café.

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Symonds Yat, within a mile from the Welsh border, is a uniquely wooded area with a spectacular view looking out over the River Wye and surrounding valley. The Wye Valley is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB – yes, that’s an official title for an area that has been designated to conservation for its exceptional landscape value). The Lower Wye reaches into the Forest of Dean. These are all areas we’d like to revisit sometime in the future with more time and better weather, but we have a lovely wintery view from the lookout spot.

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The Grand Finale of our short trip, was a very special place indeed. Tintern Abbey is the best preserved medieval abbey in Wales and is one of my favourite ruins. What remains of the structure, dates back between 1131 and 1536. It is a grand and enchanting place that makes me feel small. Earlier in the year, I listed to The Pillars of the Earth on audio book, so I had that story running through my mind, in awe of what life must have been like within these walls, so long ago.

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As most good UK road trips end, we stopped for tea and scones and then headed home.

 

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