Sunday was a beautiful day. The sun was shining. It was reasonably warm for the time of year and it was my birthday. To celebrate we went for a walk in a nearby National Trust parkland, Berrington Hall, where a new route has been created through the broadleaf-woodland, followed by coffee and cake in the courtyard with live music from a folk group celebrating the apple harvest and a last lingering stroll around the walled garden and orchard simply dripping with apples of all colours and sizes. Care to join me?
We decided to follow the blue route but cut alongside the lake and then follow the yellow route to cut across and join the blue one again. Although we have visited Berrington many times, it has always been during the period when the lake walk is closed due to grey herons nesting there between March and July.
Looking back towards the house, built in 1775 by Thomas Harley and designed by Henry Holland in the latest French influenced Neo-classical style.
The park, which has spectacular views west towards Wales and the Black Mountains, was developed by the infamous ‘Capability’ Brown, father-in-law to Henry Holland.
Sheep are always to be found in the surrounding pasture land.
Many types of water birds visit the lake at different times of the year, including mute swans, great crested and little grebe, grey-legged geese and a number of species of duck.
The pair of swans suddenly rise above the water and with a whooping sound they stretch out their long necks and flap their wide wings and glide elegantly to another section of the lake.
Leaving the lake behind we headed up towards a convenient bench at the top of the hill and then turned left and back into the woodland.
The native woodland is full of shadows and patterns as the sun dips behind the clouds now forming in the west. The tap-tap of an invisible woodpecker disturbs the silence and small leaves slowly descend upon our heads like a golden snowstorm, whilst the ominous thud of falling nuts causes us to grin nervously.
Once out of the woodland and back across the field the landscape opens up again with views towards Croft Ambrey an Iron Age hill fort.
And directly in front of us the west front of the mansion can be seen in all its splendour. A young girl merrily performing cartwheels on the lawn, the ha-ha forming a boundary between the house and the park (the installation of a ha-ha prevented the livestock in the park -cattle, deer, sheep- from encroaching on the more elegant and refined part of your estate.)
Music in the courtyard, with the faint tang of apple cider in the air.
I’ll leave the walled garden and the orchard for another day, but I hope you have enjoyed your stroll in the Herefordshire countryside.
If you enjoy a walk, long or short, then have a look at Jo’s site where you are welcome to join in.