Monday, 24 April 2017

Houghton Mill, Cambridgeshire

Houghton Mill is a National Trust property between St Ives and Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire.  It is just a fifteen minute drive from Roseberry Tourist Park so it is a good place to visit for a bite to eat and a nice place to take a stroll.  We decided to pop there after work on Sunday as it had been a lovely day.

There has been a mill on this spot since 969, the current mill dates back to around the 17th Century and has been back in full running order since 1999 and you can still buy freshly milled flour from here.






I think these chunky looking catkins are on the Hornbeam tree, a deciduous broadleaf tree native to the South of the UK.



In contrast these slender catkins, along with the long slender leaves, growing on a tree very close to the edge of the river appear to belong to the White Willow.  This is a deciduous broadleaf tree, native to the UK and Europe.


We came across this young pack of lovely coloured Alpacas that belong to Houghton Hall Alpacas.  Alpacas are a domesticated species of a South American Camelid.  You can see that these ones have been recently sheared as you can still see the marks left on their coats by the shears.


The Alpacas were suddenly all alert at the sound of a small dog barking further down the path, well most of them anyway.




The Mill sits on the banks of the River Great Ouse, which meanders through the grounds.



We came across a pack of Alpacas that had not yet been sheared, they have wonderful shaggy coats, they remind me of a floor mop.



I spotted something hopping around in the long grass, as I stood watching a Grey Squirrel appeared and made its way to the tree line at the edge of the field.



I always think of Autumn being a time of year of colourful tree leaves, but looking around, Spring with all its new growth also provides lots of colour.


These lovely leaves I think, belong to Acer palmatum Sango Kaku - Coral Bark Maple, they especially look good against the blue sky.


In a shady spot along one of the paths there was a large patch of Wild Garlic, a wild relative of Chives native to Europe and Asia.


Its lovely to see a Mute Swan sitting on its nest ready for the next generation to arrive.



Friday, 14 April 2017

Aldeburgh and Southwold, Suffolk, England

Having spent a couple of nights in Woodbridge we headed north along the coast to Aldeburgh and then to Southwold.

Alde Burgh means 'Old Fort' and in Tudor times there was a fort here, but that along with most of the Tudor town was lost to the sea.  Aldeburgh became a leading port in the 16th century.

There's very little breaking up the vast expanse of beach here, the South Lookout is a quaint little building with a tall watch tower.  This is one of two towers that were owned by rival pilotage groups who provided shipping information to Lloyds of London and the Admiralty using telegraph.  Pilotage is navigation using fixed points of reference on land or sea.  Today the building is used as an artists retreat and art gallery.


There is a lovely looking spiral staircase running up the side of the watch tower.



I think this is the first time I have seen daffodils growing on the beach, they really compliment the lovey day and view along the beach.


For a while now I have been documenting the various weather vanes that I come across, surprisingly I think this maybe the first Cockerel that I have seen.


Many of the British coastal resorts of times gone by had model yacht ponds, fortunately there is still one here.


There is a bronze statue on a plinth near the pond depicting a dog called Snooks.  Snooks belonged to a well respected doctor, the statue was originally unveiled in 1961.  However it was lost for 10 years after having gone missing in 2003,


There are some lovely colorful flowerbeds here with a back drop of some lovely looking buildings.


The Mill Inn dates from the 16th Century, the mock Tudor beams on the outside were added during the 1950's.


No cannot see the sea monster, just lots of pebbles, empty beach and sea!


There are plenty of huts along this stretch of beach were you can buy fresh fish and shell fish, as well as trying your favourites smoked.


Another first to add to my list of weather vanes.


This is very much a working section of the beach.


Love this sign, cannot disagree with it!


This building 'The Moot Hall' dates back to the early 16th century.  Originally it contained 6 small shops on the ground floor and a meeting chamber on the first floor.  Today the building contains a museum telling the history of this part of Suffolk.


Another thing you will see on several old buildings are elaborate sundials. The wording on this one translates as "I count only the hours that are serene" a 19th century motto.



This bike reminds me of the hit TV series Open All Hours.



We then carried along the coast towards Southwold.  There is a mention of Southwold in the Doomsday Book of 1086 as a fishing port.  There was a fire in the town in 1659 which devastated most of the town.  Several of the destroyed buildings were not replaced resulting in several open areas still seen today. The sign shows the Battle Of Sole Bay of 1672 between the Dutch and the combined English and French fleets.


This section of the seafront is lined with colorful beach huts looking out over the narrow sandy beach to the sea, with the pier in the background.



If you get a chance to walk along these beach huts just take a moment to look at the name plates that most of the have their are some really interesting ones.


We have now climbed the steps up the cliffs to what is known as Gun Hill, here you will see six 18 pounder cannon commemorating the Battle Of Sole Bay.  Many bodies from the battle were washed up along this stretch of beach.



Now this is a first and probably uniquely handmade weather vane.


Southwolds Lighthouse was commissioned in 1890 and electrified and automated in 1938.  It is still in full working order and in regular service.



We are now looking back towards the coast of Southwold from the Pier.


The pier was built in 1900 as a landing stage for steamships bringing tourists from London, Clacton and Great Yarmouth, it was originally 247 metres (810ft) long.  In 1955 a large section was destroyed by a gale.  In 2001 the pier was totally rebuilt and restored and now stands at 190 metres (620ft) long.

This water clock was originally built as a temporary water feature in 2001.  After having been scrapped as it never really worked properly the current owner of the pier decided to restore the clock adding an electric mechanism.



There are several mirrors along one side of the buildings on pier.  I particularly liked this one as it made us look taller and thinner!