Monday, June 04, 2012

ENGLAND 2012: Ledbury and WALES

A year ago when we were out-n-about with host Chris, and saw a bridge out on the landscape that took you to Wales (yes, we were that close!), I immediately said I wanted to go to Wales one year!  Truth be known, I really wanted it to be this year...this trip.

And so it was!

Thus, the day after our Blists Hill blogger meet-up (last post), we drove all over tarnation for about 6 hours, getting from Bath to...eventually Wales...and then back home again.

We first stopped in Ledbury, a town in Herefordshire, known for it's timber-framed buildings.  See what I mean about how Chris knew exactly what we'd want to see without even asking!

The Market House from 1617, standing on its 16 pillars, is the most notable.
I love architecture like this!

A stone's throw away, across the street, is Ledbury's library clock tower.
It's dedicated to poet Elizabeth Barrett-Browning who lived and wrote in the town.

We didn't stay long but...long enough to get a taste for this quaint little English town.
Notice I said English and not British.  Chris often had to correct my...English!

Once back in the car, and within minutes, still within the Ledbury district, Chris then stopped at this little gem:  the Church of St. Michael and All Angels in Castle Frome, Herefordshire.  And it was open!

It was out in the middle of nowhere..."at the end of a farm track well away from the village."
When we arrived it was sunshiny (left side); when we left a storm was brewing (right side).

The font from c.1170 is one of the wonders of the church (top-right image)..
When I walk inside these quaint churches, I always wonder what my preacher dad would think!

And speaking of out in the middle of nowhere...just off the church property is this rapeseed field.
Astrid had been talking all trip about getting good pictures of the rapeseed in bloom everywhere.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Back in the car again, towards our "final goal" of stepping foot inside was time to stop and eat lunch.

Leave it to Chris to have picked up some lamb meat pies for us in Ledbury.
What a host with the most!

It so happens we stopped to eat just after crossing this private toll bridge.
To avoid delay, have coinage ready.  80p.
It still blows my mind that such a bridge can be owned by a private family.
They operate it and maintain it via the toll that comes in.
See all the debris at the bottom of the pilings?  Hmmmm....

Once again, we were out in the middle of nowhere.
Sometimes those are the best places for photography!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Then suddenly...we were in WALES!

 Hay on Wye, to be specific, right on the Welsh-English border.
All signage while in Wales was in both English and Welsh.
It's a good way to learn another language, right?

 Wiki says Hay on Wye is known as the town of books.
It has a literary festival every June that draws approx. 80,000 visitors.
(The town itself has a population of only 1500 people!)
This particular bookshop in the Hay Castle is Europe's largest secondhand bookstore. 

 And YES, it was open!
Can you imagine trying to find a specific book there???? 

We couldn't leave, of course, without our favorite treat.
I scream, You scream, We all scream for ice cream!

By now it was time to head back to Bath!  My feet had touched the very land of WALES and I was a happy camper.  My day had been filled to the hilt!  I was short of eyes....

But Chris was not yet done!

 What to our wondering, short-of-eyes should appear but...Tintern Abbey, from 1131!
It is probably the most spectacular ruins of an abbey we will ever see in our lifetime.

 It, too, is in Wales, just over the River Wye border from England.

Wouldn't you want to do a photo shoot there?!

So you see, in one swell foop, we had such a fabulous day in the life of our 2012 England trip.  Are we lucky or what!  And I'm not even done yet....


  1. I just loved traveling this journey with you on this post! Adore the rapeseed fields!! Could play with that all day! xoxo

  2. Robin: I love that you follow these journeys with us, Lady. Thank you. One day soon we're be on some photo hunts together. Won't that be fun!!!

  3. That looks like a fantastic day out, I am worn out just looking at the itinerary. Yes that church looks like a place I MUST visit.

  4. Cherry: I KNOW you'd love this little church...and well, the big abbey, too. There is soooo much to see there where you live! It blows me away every year we visit.

  5. Oh yes... you are indeed lucky! But I'm thinking that you make your luck, you and Astrid, by forming such wonderful friendships!

    I would LOVE to do a photo shoot at Tintern Abbey... what an amazing place... I happen to have an extreme fondness for ruins and could see myself easily having to be dragged away, kicking and screaming!

    Love the photos of the bookshop... we used to have 3 second-hand bookshops in walking distance from my house... all are gone now since the internet has exploded. I believe there is still one locally in Georgetown but book shops are having hard times, these days, between e-readers and online sellers.

    The church interiors and rape field images are particularly nice. (Although I often find myself unable to pick favorites out of all the marvelous images you post.)

  6. Victoria: I have to agree that we make our luck in most situations. In that regard, I still feel lucky. HA! One day we will do a photo hunt with you, I'm sure of it. The question is just when! I know what you mean about picking favorites. Everything has its own meaning and value, in and of itself. I would never know how to pick and choose!

  7. That was a very memorable day. We drove all over the place and we visited the most delightful places.
    The bookstore is a great place to be, when is rains for 3 days in a row.
    Castle Frome was very special. Chris knows to keep the best for the last. That Abby in the golden light is wonderful.
    We both are so lucky that we found Chris as a perfect host. A memory added to the, already, long list.
    A wonderful post with beautiful pictures. Thank you again MLS.

  8. Astrid: What we have seen in such a short period of time together would fill several albums with images, as we both already know. Our trips to England alone are worth a book by itself. And yes, Chris is the perfect host. He really has the knack for knowing what we like!

  9. bloggers make the best tour guides don't they. they know exactly what you want to see. so cool. someday with God's grace i hope to find myself in this beautiful land.

  10. PC: Oh yes, bloggers do know. Isn't that something, Maria. So true. If it weren't for bloggers, we wouldn't have had these grand off-the-track experiences in England...and now Wales! Knowing you and how you travel, you're get there one day!

  11. What completely charming places! The church is fantastic, and I especially love its name. Wales, and a bookshop, and Tintern Abbey! The namesake of the Wordsworth poem my favorite English professor taught me, back in the day at Trinity College. We really have to get over there.

  12. Ruth: I love the name of that church, too, and think Dad would be in heaven there! There were a LOT of famous people connected to Tintern Abbey over the years, btw, including Allen Ginsberg who took an acid trip there in 1967. :) Oh me, oh my. The things to see in such a small country packed to the gills with history!

    But you have to come to Holland first!

  13. Nooooo! Not WALES tooo! One of my long gone dreams.... to get here one day. Now I'm really green of envy!!!! Wonderful photos, I really love those characteristic houses. Lovely. Could walk around there for ages. Looks like you had the very best guide too!

  14. LCT: Yes, Wales, too! It was so fun just to say I did it! :) One day I want to see more of it...and go back to Ireland. I LOVE that part of the world. So much history; so much to see!

  15. > Wouldn't you want to do a photo shoot there?!

    Yes, yes I would. And did. Many years ago in the days of film cameras, my husband and I blew a "few" rolls of film there.

  16. Karen: Are you kidding me??? It's a small world after all! I love it.

  17. I would think such towns must be brimming with poets... how can it not mold them?

    What is the difference between English and British. I thought they were interchangeable...

    I don't think I've ever seen a church with a cemetery right up to its front door like St. Michael and All Angels! The inside images are exquisite (is that a pulpit for a minister or for a musician at the left hand corner of the b&w photo?) and then you end this post with those yellow rapeseeds... I love the logs to the left - what were they from? Did they clear a huge field of trees?

    Ha! I'm only half way through the post...What a day you had.

    2nd largest secondhand bookstore. I'm pea green with envy again...

    Tintern Abbey - My camera would be out of battery! You must carry an extra charged battery with you at all times.

  18. Margaret: HA! You sound just like I feel on these photo hunts! And yes, I always carry an extra charged battery at such times.

    British covers the entire UK and English covers only England. If you're from England, you do NOT want to be called British we soon discovered. Interesting, right?!

    The pulpit IS for the minister, which makes this not quite the HIGH church of some of the cathedrals elsewhere. But it just makes me love it more. And after the service you can go outside and pay your respects to your deceased loved ones! Quite convenient!

    And isn't that Tintern Abbey something else?!!!