Today we left Apple Tree Park. It really is an unobtrusively well-run site and a testament to what can be achieved if the management really cares, from a magnificent shower and toilet block with its under-floor heating to the selection of books for sale in aid of local charities.
The weather today is a bit iffy – a weak sun trying to get through and a definite autumnal feel. The usual hunt for a 3g signal meant a trip down the A38 until a suitable layby was found and then a decision to find the lakes at Frampton upon Severn that I had read about on the internet. Many unusual birds were to be found there – apparently. Frampton is an attractive village with vast stretches of village green and home to an exceptional quantity of old timbered houses. We found the lakes (disused quarry pits) but unfortunately, apart from a few Crested Grebe, there was nothing to see.
We decided to cut our losses and move on and for a while drove between the River Severn and the Gloucester and Sharpness canal, crossing the bridge at Epney – just in time as it happened. The man was about to close it to allow a sight-seeing boat through so we hopped out the other side to take some photographs.
We crossed the Severn at Gloucester and stopped at Westbury Court Garden at Westbury on Severn. It’s a National Trust property but a very unassuming one with just a small hut as a reception. The 18th century Dutch style water garden was rescued by the NT in 1967 and the tall pavilion was painstakingly rebuilt to the old plans. Thanks to an engraving of the original garden from 1707, it was possible to discover how many plants were planted, where they were planted and how much they cost.
September was probably not the best month to visit but there was still some colour and interest and the wonderfully gnarled bark of reputedly the oldest evergreen oak in England (400 years old amazingly) was fascinating to see.
I think poor old Neptune probably once had a trident in his hand but he is now left waving rather sweetly.
Trust Bessie to get in on the act – parked at the end of the water garden!
Onwards to the Forest of Dean. The area around Cinderford looked strange and other-worldly somehow and the descent into the Forest was steep. We found the large Forestry Commission wooden building but they seemed a little disorganised and we were asked to park and return later when there would be someone to actually book us in. We managed to find a fairly quiet spot near to the trees. Hoping tomorrow’s weather will be a bit sunnier.
The gardens look fantastic. Is Bessie a bit like Herbie and has a mind of her own?