Elemental Sculpture Park (Somerford Keynes)

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The Elemental Sculpture Park in Somerford Keynes is only 5 minutes’ drive or 25 minutes’ walk from Nightingale House and is well worth a visit! It opened in 2015 and has well over 100 exhibits, tastefully displayed in extensive grounds. Enjoy and hour or two meandering … Continue reading

Cycle Ride to Cricklade

Old Railway TrackThis 7 mile level cycle ride from Lower Mill Estate to Cricklade is almost all on cycle paths and includes a long shady stretch along an old Railway Track.

Turn right onto the Spine Road at the end of Mill Lane. After 4 miles take a right turn Heron Sculptureonto the Old Railway track. Look out for a 6ft black and white ‘Heron’ sculpture which marks the start of the cycle path. Keep on this track all the way (3 miles) to Cricklade Leisure Centre and then it’s just a short distance to the town centre.(There is a map showing the route in the Information Folder at Nightingale House.)

 

The Thames Path passes through Cricklade – a 9th century Saxon town. It boasts aRed Lion at Cricklade number of historic buildings including the Red Lion Inn which dates from the 1600s and has its own acclaimed microbrewery. Sample three different home brews (a third of a pint each) as you enjoy a snack or a meal.

 

Upper and Lower Slaughter

The Old Mill on the River Eye at Lower Slaughter

If you fancy combining a leisurely walk with a visit to a couple of stunning Cotswold villages, take a drive to Lower and Upper Slaughter (just over 20 miles from Lower Mill Estate). Park in Lower Slaughter and stroll along the River Eye past picturesque cottages on your way to the Old Mill with its quirky craft and tea shop. From the Old Mill

Upper Slaughter Ford

Upper Slaughter Ford

follow the footpath beside the river and across a meadow to Upper Slaughter  (just a mile away) and explore a second charming village.

The Lords of the Manor at Upper Slaughter

The Lords of the Manor

Maybe stop for lunch at The Lords of the Manor Hotel in the beautiful gabled Manor House with its spectacular views down to the river before retracing your steps back to Lower Slaughter.

For a longer walk, follow footpaths from Lower Slaughter to the celebrated Bourton-on-the-Water which is couple of miles further on. For more details see ‘Cotswold River Walks’ by Colin Handy (Walk 11 page 34) on the bookcase in the second bedroom.

Walk from Nightingale House to the ‘Wild Duck Inn*’ at Ewen

 A gentle country walk through farmland and beside the infant River Thames

Walk from Nightingale House on Lower Mill Estate to the Wild Duck Inn at Ewen

Distance: 2.5 miles each way

Time: Allow 1.5 hours each way plus time for refreshments at the Wild Duck Inn

Restrictions: None except for keeping to the Thames Path when it goes through private land.

Directions: (numbers refer to map above)

Turn right out of Nightingale House (1) and walk back through the estate to the entrance in Mill Lane. Turn left onto Mill Lane. (The infant Thames is on your left.) At the end of Mill Lane (2), cross the Spine Road (main road) with care. Turn left along the footpath/ cycle path. Take the first turn on the right signposted ‘Somerford Keynes’ and very soon turn left into Neigh Bridge Park.

Follow the path to your right through the park with the Thames to your right and a lake to your left. At the end of Neigh Bridge Park turn right (3) to cross the little bridge over the river, then turn left and follow the path. (The river is now on your left.) Continue on the path beside the river, passing Kemble Mill and Old Mill Farm to your left. When you reach Upper Mill Farm – just after an old wind pump (tall metal structure with water tank on top) to your right– there is a small bridge to your left with a signpost pointing to Ewen: 1 mile (4). Cross the river here and continue along the Thames Path to Ewen. The river is now on your right.

When you reach the road on the edge of Ewen (5), turn right and when you meet a T junction (6) turn right again. Where the road dips after about 300metres you will find the ‘Wild Duck Inn’ (7) on your right.

*The Wild Duck www.thewildduckinn.co.uk Drakes Island, Ewen, Cirencester GL7 6BY Tel. (0)1285 770310 is a beautiful, cosy inn dating from the 16th century with oak beams and a log fire.  It serves very good food and is popular with locals and tourists alike. Evening meal prices at the Wild Duck can be quite high but lunchtime snacks are better value as portions are copious. We shared a sausage and caramelised onion ciabatta (excellent!) last time we walked to the pub for lunch and it was plenty for two.

 

Bourton House and Gardens

 

Bourton House and Gardens

Less than an hour from Lower Mill, at Bourton-on-the-Hill, this 3.5 acre, exquisite garden is a must for topiary lovers.  The attention to detail is stunning – round every corner is something beautiful, something creative, but most importantly, something maintained to the highest standard.  This is a garden where caring for what has been created is as important as the creative process itself.

Glorious herbaceous borders, stuffed with colourful plants, containers overflowing with clever plant combinations, all combine to delight those whose first love may not be topiary.  The small greenhouses are full of container displays and the kitchen garden (parterres, of course) have interesting produce.  The garden is set in beautiful countryside, with views and woodland walks as a bonus.  A guide is issued to help visitors enjoy the trees.

Bourton House garden is described by its owners as having plenty to delight visitors well into Autumn, when other gardens may be losing their vibrancy.  This is certainly fair comment, and September/October are excellent months to visit.  The dedication of Bourton’s three (yes, just three) gardeners, serves to prolong flowering to its absolute maximum – but the enduring memory is of topiary and more topiary, looking as if clipped only moments ago.

Bourton House GardensBourton House GardensGarden Path

 

Visitor Information

2014 Season (subsequent years, please check via internet or telephone)

April to end October: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (excluding Easter) 10am to 5pm. Admission £6 (under 16’s free).

Teas

Tea room and Gift Shop in the Tithe Barn open every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from end May to early September.  All cakes are made at Bourton House by Susan and Christine.  Cream teas are available for groups if booked in advance.

Disabled Access

Bourton House Garden has limited disabled access (60-70%).? Disabled lavatory available.

No dogs or picnics!

Public Transport

Bourton House Garden can be reached by public transport on the Johnsons Coaches routes 21 and 22 (no bus on Sunday).  Timetables can be found on www.johnsonscoaches.co.uk.  Bourton House Garden is 2 miles from Moreton-in-Marsh.

Bourton House Garden
Bourton on the Hill
Gloucestershire
GL56 9AE

Tel: 01386 700754

Email: [email protected]

Garden and lawns

 

Slimbridge Wetland Centre

Flamingos at Slimbridge Wetland Centre under an hour from Nightingale HouseHaving purchased our tickets we emerged from the Visitor Centre beside a lake. At first we weren’t that impressed. There were plenty of ducks, swans and coots and at the far end we could see – and hear – the children’s play area. However, we soon discovered that this was just for starters. There was much more beyond.. Continue reading