Tardebigge Bottom to Stoke Works 23rd April


The first ducklings this year

NB Blackbird followed us down the six locks that make up Stoke Locks. We had our first sighting of ducklings for the year today, then our second.

Both boats filled with water at the point opposite The Boat and Railway Inn where we planned to go this evening. Once thirsts were quenched we moored up for the day. It wasn’t even midday! Bridget had spotted that there was a National Trust house about a mile and a half away. An opportunity not to be missed.


Deaded trees

The walk took us along narrow country roads and then across rolling fields into the park land of Hanbury Hall. As ever when arriving on foot we had difficulty finding the entrance. We had walked a good proportion of the grounds before we found the car park and booth for tickets into the hall. Retracing our steps back to the entrance of the hall there were election banners everywhere. In the 1715 election, the then owner of the house, Thomas Vernon ran for parliament. The political parties were the Torys and the Whigs. The Whigs took full control of the government and remained totally dominant until George III came to the throne in 1760.



Hanbury Hall

Built in 1701 in the William and Mary style the very impressive feature as you walk in are the paintings on the ceiling and walls leading up the staircase by Sir James Thornhill which depict the story of Achilles. He also painted the ceiling in St Pauls cathedral. The amount of Trompe l’oeil would be a major treat, taking quite sometime, for a scenic artist to achieve. The panelling in the hall being pine has been  wood grained to match the staircase. This has all recently been restored and had a modern glaze applied to protect it. Sadly the effect of this is that the light bounces off the walls making it hard to see the paintings as a whole. Having said that they are very impressive. Mick wanted to know if I’d create something similar inside Lillian!




Staircase wall



The house was impressive but sadly information in the rooms was lacking, several of the guides were very informative, ( suspect we got the main man at one point ) but others were lacking somewhat.







The Parterre


Cherry Blossom

After an obligatory ice cream break (it was a hot day!) we had a meander around the grounds looking at the wilderness, Orangery, Mushroom House, Dairy, Snob’s Tunnel and the Ice House before walking down the Cedar Walk to join a footpath leading us back to the canal.

In the evening we headed across the cut to sample the food at The Boat and Railway Inn. The burgers were very good, the beer even better.

6 locks, 1.75 miles, 2 full water tanks, 1 more free NT property, 4 ice creams, 0 bedoingy lambs, 1 bedoingy Bridget, 11 pints beer, 3 burgers, 1 fish and chips.

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