Sunday, 4 August 2013

Landscape and Man No.3

Third and final post showing Cotswold features - houses, stone walls, footpath stiles, gates, and our Common.
Walling
The wall below is in our garden
Houses
Houses in the north Cotswolds have a honey coloured stone
In the south it is a softer buff colour
via
I admire the proportions of this house which sits in a wonderful spot high on a Cotswold escarpment with a deep valley below. Built just over 300 years ago it forms a perfect square 14m on each side, exemplifying the early 18th century formal house in miniature. 
Footpath stiles, gates, and our Common
A tunnel footpath leading steeply down into the valley - the farmer has placed a metal obstacle across the stile to prevent the cattle getting down
this is a "kissing gate"
spring loaded stile - shut
open
We use this stile to climb over to the Common
where a track used by a fox or badger cuts through the tall grasses
The dying rays of an August evening sun
Normally verdant, very green, and strewn with wild flowers, the 'Common' surrounding our home is acknowledged for its grasslands, wild flowers, birds, and butterflies - it is a biological and geological Site of Special Scientific Interest. This year it resembles an unfamiliar place, somewhere I don't recognise; it looks like another country, a foreign land, the consequence of both heatwave and drought.
 minutes until sunset
homeward bound
Post No. 2 here.

56 comments:

  1. A few very nice houses, not for the average person.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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    1. A variety of interesting architectural styles.

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  2. Fascinating details about the Cotswolds, rightly known as one of England's most beautiful areas. I love the stiles, which are a rarity in Australia, and there are so many variation. The spring-loaded one is new to me, and looks both functional and stylish too. Dry stone walls are beautiful, and yours is a winner. Though rare here, we have watched someone in our neighbourhood building one over the past several years, and it is a wonder to see. Thanks for a great post, Rosemary!

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    1. Drystone walling is a traditional skill here, and luckily a tradition that continues - quite often passing from father to son. No fences are allowed where we live - only drystone walls or hedging planted with native shrubs.

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  3. Lovely homes. We have a few like that here. Love your fence :) I know of two on our island which are bridges. When we have droughts the scenery sure does change.

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    1. Most of the houses blend in well with the countryside as they are mainly built of the local oolitic limestone.

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  4. I was totally enchanted by the stone walls when we were in Wales. They will be in one of my future posts. I can see not only Wales is so beautiful, we will have to visit the area you live in as well Rosemary, but I already kinda knew that from pictures I had seen on your blog. Still, now that we've been in the UK, those pictures speak to me even more. Thank you again for sharing. Also loved the different ways(gates, stairs of all kinds,...) to cross a boundary. Also loved that you can pass almost everywhere to walk in your country. I know there's a name for it but I can't remember what it is. You live in such a beautiful country Rosemary!
    Marian

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    1. Dear Marian - we have a countryside act called the 'right to roam, or 'rights of way' across the whole country, but you must keep to the footpaths especially if the farmer has animals grazing or is growing crops. There are also many great footpaths criss crossing the countryside that people use for their holidays. Through the Cotswolds runs the 'Cotswold Way'. There is the 'coast to coast walk' also several days, the 'Pennine way' which travels up the spine of the country, the 'Thames Path' which goes from the source of the river Thames in the Cotswolds to London. The North Downs Way, The Ridgeway and Offa's Dyke Path. Most of these walks can be done over a week staying in bed/breakfast places who will often forward on your luggage to the next location.

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    2. I thought it was called 'rights of way' but then thought that wasn't it because 'right of way' is something that has to do with traffic and how to behave in it as well isn't it?
      Anyway, it is a wonderful thing, and of course it's only normal you should stay on the paths if they're there. I found the people and farmers being very friendly. At first we didn't even dare to open a gate and enter but after a while we got used to reading the map with the trails on it and saw it was not because there was a gate that you couldn't enter it. Only had to make sure to close it again behind us. The only time people were shouting at us was when we had to follow the side of a golf course and people were playing there, so they told us to stop not to get a golf ball on our heads or anything, so that was also very nice of them after all ;)
      About my Welsh 'language skills'..., the internet is a great place to have English translated into Welsh.... Of course we did want to know the very beginnings of Welsh when we were there and the first thing we bought was a little booklet of street Welsh that we always took with us. It was a big help an very interesting to see how different Welsh is from English. With all the letters that have to be pronounced differently, it is comparable to Slovenish where you have the same thing. Makes it much more difficult to learn to speak a new language like that. I did recognize some French in the Welsh language as well, like the Welsh words for 'book', 'church' and 'bridge'. Something I don't quite understand though is why 'blodau' suddenly turns into 'flodau' in certain sentences.... As I said, Welsh must be a very hard language to learn but it is very much alive, we discovered.

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    3. Welsh is a very difficult language to speak and also to learn. It was a dying language 30 years ago, but now they make a concerted effort to teach it in the Welsh schools, so that it has once again become a living language. Welsh peoples are Celtic and their language is more related to French, German and Scandinavian languages than English.
      Yes, you are correct 'right of way' can refer to a traffic situation - may be 'right to roam' is the better description for you to remember.

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  5. The Cotswolds is truly beautiful and enchanting. Also looks so peaceful. I adore those houses and their gardens. Definitely a perfect place to walk around and admire all these beautiful nature and architecture. Enjoy your weekend!

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    1. Dear Pamela - because man has used the natural stone from the ground here for the buildings and the walls his intervention seems less intrusive in the countryside - it keeps the harmony and balance right.

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  6. Beautiful houses, the colour off the stone's are so soft and nice.
    the cotswolds are a verry beautiful part off England i think.

    Have a nice Sunday,
    Inge, my choice

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    1. Some people prefer the honey coloured stone and some prefer the paler colour - however, whichever colour stone is used I do like stone houses.

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  7. What a treat this post is. It took me back to September and the wonderful walks in the Yorkshire Wolds and in the Peaks District. I was amazed that we were allowed to open gates and walk through fields. The gates and stiles were all so interesting in construction. I took hundreds of photos of stone walls - up close, from a distance, however I could get them. We just don't have walls like that here, depending more on terrible barbed wire fences. At Pondside The Great Dane has built stone walls, but they are mortared together. I'd love to have a wall high enough to create a micro-climate in the garden.
    Did I say?....wonderful photos!

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    1. We have split our garden up into so called rooms, and are fortunate enough to have a small walled garden in which we can grow figs and grapes.
      I am sure that you are aware that I am a Peak District girl - it is where I was born and grew up. As a school girl I enjoyed seeing the drystone walls running up, down, and across the countryside like patchwork. Drystone walling is still taught here, it is interesting to see someone building them. We had a drystone waller working in our garden for several years. When he picked up a stone from the pile he always knew exactly where to place it. Sometimes he would make it smaller but he never put it back on the pile. I think that it becomes intuitive.

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  8. A feast for the eyes... as always with your posts Rosemary :-)
    Truly a beautiful part of the country...

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    1. Thanks Nat - I enjoyed your amusing last post, you have a wicked sense of humour.

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  9. Gorgeous photos, Rosemary. It's all so old and wonderful. Those walls are spectacular! We have nothing like that here (in my area of Canada, at least). Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Dry stone walling is a very ancient craft going back to around 1200 in the British Isles beginning around the time that the great monasteries were built. The impetus for the dry stone walling seen around the fields today was as a result of the 'enclosures' which turned the countryside from open farming into one with land surrounded by walls during the 16th century.

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  10. Beautiful photo's of the English countryside! One or two houses look familiar. I think we visited the garden of one of them in 2012. Unfortunately I don't know it's name, but I must have posted about it on my blog.

    The UK would not be the same without the drystone walls. They add to the beauty of the landscape!

    Have a lovely new week!

    Madelief x

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    1. The first house shown is called Whittington Court - a stone built Elizabethan manor house begun in 1556, but it only opens 4 times per year, so probably not that one. All the other houses are not open to the public except for second house photographed which is called Stanway House, belonging to Lord Neidpath - a Jacobean manor house. It has the tallest gravity fountain in the world in the garden. I should imagine that is the one that you visited.

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  11. I particularly like the sunset photo, such a beautiful view and a lovely time to be outside enjoying it.

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    1. The view shows the River Severn with the distant hills of Wales.

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  12. Beautiful houses and those with mottled stone and lichen have so much character. The letterbox image showing the way the evening sunlight and the natural pathways made by animals create patterns on the grass on the Common is one of my favourites. However, I can see that the dry weather has not been good for this special site.

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    1. We have been out walking most evenings during this very warm weather, and the moment just before the sun goes down has been magically, a lovely time to be out.

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  13. I spent some time in the Cotswolds in the 90's. It was my idea of heaven, all the beautiful gardens, buildings, thatched roofs and rolling countryside. You live in a beautiful place Rosemary! x

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    1. It is interesting that you are familiar with the area Penny. It is not an area that I ever imagined I would live, but it is somewhere that I used to admire and enjoy when we visited.

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  14. Dear Rosemary,

    The area around you is beautiful and that sunset panorama is breath-taking. I like your garden wall and that the stones on top make it look like a palisade — did you and H build it yourselves?

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    1. Dear Mark - the garden walls were not built by us. We had a wonderful craftsman working in the garden building walls, a pond, doing paving etc for about 3 to 4 years off and on. The top stones are called the coping stones, this style is called 'cock and hen'. Sometimes they are finished with a layer of stone slabs and sometimes a layer of mortar as a cap, as per the very last photograph. The cock and hen is the best finish as the stones weigh down the courses below and bond both faces together so that the wall settles into a solid unit. Without copings the walls would flake away course by course. Putting just a cement cap on the top restricts the movement of the wall and can result in sections collapsing over time. Our stonewaller said that our walls will last 'forever' - he had never known one of his walls to collapse.

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    2. Thanks for that information — from your posting, I would guess that the Cotswold provides steady work for a number of stonewallers. How nice that (in my opinion) the strongest walls are also the most aesthetically pleasing!

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    3. A little fact which I just happen to have at my finger tips is that there are over 4,000 miles of drystone walls in the Cotswolds - as long as the great wall in China.

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  15. So beautiful, all of it, even your unrecognizable common. That yellow colour is how fields look in Australia.

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    1. Our wheat and corn fields are very golden, but it is very strange to see the Common looking like the fields; it is usually full of different orchids, and flowers that enjoy the limestone soil.

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    2. The Cotswolds is such a magical and mysterious place to my eyes, we always have such a wonderful time when visiting or passing through. I have not seen some of the beautiful examples of stile you feature in your post Rosemary. Wishing you a lovely week. Paul

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    3. Some of the stiles were new to me too, especially the spring loaded one. I used to feel the same when passing through the Cotswolds when we lived elsewhere.

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  16. Dear Rosemary, I never cease to be amazed at the ingenuity of the human race. So many designs of gates and stiles. And such wonderful names to go along with them, kissing gate, tunnel gate and more.
    Your dry laid stone wall is a masterpiece. The stones on top are an unusual design element. A Master stone mason must have laid your wall.
    I have thoroughly enjoyed your beautiful photographs of the Cotswold countryside. Thank you for taking us along. ox, Gina

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    1. Dear Gina - we were so fortunate to have a great stone waller working for us for several years off and on. I would tell him what I wanted he would do exactly as requested. He made us a circular window in one wall, and alcoves to place pots etc, a wonderful man. The walls to me are a little work of art in stone.
      Glad you enjoyed seeing the countryside in the Cotswolds.

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  17. A veritable feast of walls and textures, Rosemary. the Cotswolds is such a grogeous place. I love the tunnel.

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    1. I ashamed to say that I have never ventured down that tunnel Kate, and I really ought to give it a try - that must be a mission to accomplish this summer sometime.

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  18. You live in a most beautiful part of our world. You have drought this year and we have the constant rain.

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    1. What is going on in the world Olive? - luckily today we have had some rain, so H has not had to water the garden tonight which makes a change. I think that it is normally hot and dry with you isn't it? The Cotswold area is considered quintessential England.

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  19. What magnificent homes Rosemary. I was wondering " could one of them be yours".. The gardens are perfectly kept and the walls are so attractive, yours has a very special design to it. It must have taken a lot of time to build..
    Your fields look a lot like ours at the moment.
    It truly is a most beautiful part of England.
    great photos Rosemary.
    val xx

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    1. Dear Val - my home isn't here, one of the them does belong to a close neighbour.
      The walls are an important feature in our garden, and our stone waller spent a long time here building them for us - he was a wonderful craftsman.
      This is a lovely part of the country which is complimented by its stone houses, walls, and valleys.

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  20. Beautiful Rosemary! We were exploring the Yorkshire Wolds last week & I realised that the mellow sandstone buildings there remind me of the Cotswolds. It is amazing how many beautiful old houses - grand and humble - still remain in our lovely, varied country.

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    1. I love all the stone villages and towns that run up the spine of England. Bath up to Northumberland and including the Peak District, where I was born, Yorkshire and Lancashire. They seem to have a timelessness about them and blend in with the surrounding countryside.

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  21. What a breathtaking places you showed Rosemary.
    Have a wonderful sunday.

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    1. One of the things that I enjoy from looking at posts is seeing the surroundings where blog friends live, and I enjoyed seeing your area with the dykes and green windmills very much Marijke..

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  22. Dear Rosemary, you're so lucky to live in such a beautiful country and area. You've shown us stunning landscapes. I love those walls, paths - everything! Happy Tuesday, Rosemary.

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    1. The walls along the lanes, around the fields and gardens are a traditional feature that have been established over 400 years. If they are built well they will last for several generations or even more.

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  23. There are many beautiful places in the world, but Cotswold is by far so. The photos show how you love there, rosemary. If I Iived there, I’d take a walk every day, admiring its beauties and wonders and finding something new. I’m attracted by the Cotswold way of dry stone walling.

    In my part of the world, hot and humid summer is our usual summer, but we are experiencing “once- a –thousand- year fierce heat wave”, and toward the weekend it will be the hottest with temperature soaring to 40 degrees C.

    Yoko

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    1. Dear Yoko - the worlds weather is very strange, climate change seems to be a reality. We had such a long chilly spring, and now we have had 5 weeks of hot weather without rain up until this week. When it rained the earth seemed to give a big sigh of relief.
      Man has not intruded on the landscape here, but by using the stone found naturally in the ground he just seems to have embellished the surroundings.

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  24. Very nice.....your Pictures are beautiful...greets Erwin

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    1. Thank you Erwin for your visit, and glad you enjoyed seeing the photos.

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  25. I loved seeing the Cotswolds again in your lovely photos. My husband used to live in a village outside Stroud and next to a common, and we sometimes visit there. The local stone is beautiful and the views in your photos are wonderful. I love the sun setting over the hills.

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    1. Thank you Wendy - glad that you enjoyed seeing the photos. I think that you had better have a word with your husband, and ask him if he recognises anything on this post!!!

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