Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Anglesey Abbey, Gardens and Lode Mill, Cambridgeshire, England

Now I have to admit that I am ashamed to say that despite living just a few miles down the road from this National Trust property and having driven past it countless times, this was our first visit to the site.  But we will be visiting it again and again.

Anglesey Abbey was purchased by Lord Fairhaven in 1926, when he died in 1966 it was gifted to the National Trust.  The grounds cover 98 acres of formal gardens, and wooded areas, including Hoe Fen.

The house is currently closed to allow for conservation works so our visit was all about what we could see of interest around the gardens in mid January.  There are many statues dotted around the site, quite a few of them were covered over to protect them from the winter weather, however there were still several to be seen.

Here we get our first glimpse of the country house formally a priory.  The original priory what built around 1000 and 1135.  It was then sold and converted to a country house around 1600.

We are looking at the South facing front of the house, the visitors entrance can be found at the rear of the property.

An interesting urn, with some lovely carvings on it and a good perch for one of the many Robins.

There are several urns dotted about the site all with different designs.

I know this photo has probably been done hundreds of times, but you have to have a bit of fun.

Even in the depths of winter when the trees are pretty bare of leaves they still look interesting.

We are now about to enter Hoe Fen one of the wooded areas of the site with lots of activities to keep little ones and not so little ones occupied.  This area was once used to rear game birds for the country house.

An interesting use of an old tree stump to provide information.

Along the walk we have been seeing signs saying find yourself a stick.  Now we know why, it is to play the sail (made out of wood).  And yes they do make different sounds depending on the length just like a xylophone as demonstrated by my hubby.

We are now going to climb Lime Tree Lookout Tree House to get a tree top view of the site.

In the distance I think we can just make out the Boat Tree House.

We were amazed to see some pink blossom nestled among the leafless branches. We later found out is the blossom of the winter flowering Viburnum.

The Sensory Tunnel.

Here in contrast to the woodland area of Hoe Fen we get a glimpse of part of Coronation Avenue. Planted with London Plane and Horse Chestnuts to celebrate the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937.

Back in Hoe Fen we came across this sign.  So we did as it said.  Would you believe it after hearing lots of birds just at that moment there was not a peep out of them.........

and no we could not see any clouds, we were quite happy with that.........

the one thing we could do was feel the rough bark of a tree.

If you get time you must stop off at the Watch Hut, there is so much going on.  This cheeky chap had given up trying to pick scraps up from underneath the feeder and had decided on a more direct approach.

A male Chaffinch hiding in the undergrowth.

There were several Great Tits visiting the feeders, but you have to be quick they don't hang around for long.

This Blue Tit looks quite interested in the Great Tit below.

The Blue Tit looks like he is a bit put out at the Great Tit heading off with a large seed.

There are always Robins buzzing around keeping tabs on everyone.

A Dunnock.

We noticed something wandering around in the undergrowth and then a Moorhen appeared.  When you see them out of the water they have huge feet.

Another male Chaffinch.

Can you spot the Great Spotted Woodpeckers?  There was quite a lot of squawking going on over head and when we look into the tree we spotted three of them.

This is a lovely sheltered spot for bird watching.

This is the first time I have photographed a female Pheasant, although they are not as colorful as the male they are still very pretty.

There are two of these structures flanking either side of the entrance to the Coronation Avenue at this point.

Another one of the lovely statues to be found dotted around the site.

This is one of two 18th century lead Sphinx guarding the Coronation Avenue.

We spotted this incredibly detailed ship above the site office, it is pretty impressive.

Part of the house creating an impressive backdrop to the rose garden.

A classic that you will find in most formal gardens, the sundial, the classic time piece.

This statue adorns the front gable end of the house.

There was a sign next to this tree stump, explaining that this tree was once a Red Wood and that unlike the popular myth of "lightening only striking once" this tree has been struck twice.

We have now entered the Winter Garden and get to see a close up of the winter flowering Viburnum, a lovely splash of delicate pink in winter.

The tangled stems of the Corkscrew Hazel.

One well endowed young man, I have seen several statues like this one and I am always surprised at how feminine and masculine they look at the same time.

This border in the Winter Garden has a stunning center piece of a red Dog Wood.

The bark of this tree reminds me of a Giraffe and belongs to the Tibetan Cherry Tree.

Another lovely, unusual flower for winter the Witch Hazel.

A lovely clump of hardy mini Cyclamen with their lovely variegated leaves.

The white stems of the Ghost Bramble or Silver Fern Bramble this plant originates in Western China.

It won't be long before these Daffodil buds are bursting open.

Some ornamental grasses.

The impressive Silver Birch the center piece of the Winter Garden. they really look impressive with the winter sun shining on the bark with the back drop of the blue sky.

We spotted this Song Thrush poking around in the leaf litter for some food.

A Helleborus niger or Christmas Rose

We have now reached the River Side Walk with the historic Lode Mill.  It is said that a mill has stood on this site since the Domesday Survey of 1086.  This mill was probably built in the eighteenth century.  The mill was restored to working order in 1978 and commenced milling in 1982.  You can buy freshly milled flower from the mill or the gift shop.  Unfortunately the mill was about to close when we reached it so we will have to look round it another day.

Here we are looking at the Quarry Pool, it is said that this site was once the site of a 19th century coprolite mine.  Coprolite is fossillised feces and was used as fertiliser due to its  high phosphate content.

The trees make for really good reflections in the still river.

Another wooden work of art hanging from one of the trees along the River Walk.

We were a little early in the month for the snowdrops but they were starting to open.  Anglesey Abbey is renowned for its displays of snowdrops.  Hopefully we will return to see them in full bloom.

There were several grass areas of the site not accessible at the moment to give the grass a rest from being trampled on, also several of the statues were covered over to protect them from the winter elements.  Having said this there is still plenty to see and do, well worth a visit.

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