Hey! Welcome back to my Adventures in Heritage. Hope you all enjoyed your bank holiday weekend. I sure did, even if I spent my Sunday three floors underground in London (but that’s a whole other story). This week I catalogue more adverts about tanks, visit a National Trust property very close to my home and learn an awful lot about deer!
Back again at the History Centre. I’m still cataloguing Alvis cuttings so there isn’t a huge amount to report as there are a lot of duplicates (who knew there were so many magazines that printed adverts for tanks?). I’m not quite over the surrealism of looking at adverts for military technology – it’s like a whole other world, like Stark Enterprises before Tony Stark became Iron Man.
I do think that I’ve got to the end of those now and moved onto more general Alvis news. There was one amazing photograph of the Parliament Secretary for Civil Aviation leaving for work in a helicopter and his wife handing him his briefcase as they taking off. Probably not an image that will get recreated under current Health and Safety laws!
There was also an interesting photo quiz featuring images of a herring gull, a caterpillar and an Alvis car. Admittedly, the only reason I was able to guess that it was an Alvis was because it was in a book of Alvis cuttings!
Rachel Reviews… Charlecote Park
We weren’t sure how much time we would actually get to visit a venue this week so we decided to play it safe and stay close to home. Our family is very lucky in that we live within half an hour’s driving distance of about 7 National Trust properties, which is just fantastic. We settled on Charlecote Park, a house and grounds with parklands that are home to herds of fallow deer and Jacob’s sheep. I was extremely pleased with this decision as I’ve been itching to go for ages!
This is the first property that we’ve visited where we haven’t been blessed with glorious sunshine, but the weather did not deter our enjoyment one little bit. We started the day with a rather intriguing sign that explained that the rutting season was over so that the deer would be losing their antlers, and if any antlers were found they were to be handed in to the Visitor Centre.
The first thing you see on the way into the grounds is the impressive Gatehouse. There was a volunteer waiting to greet us as soon as we arrived and he told us that we could go onto the roof – a rare opportunity! What a great view! We hung around to listen to the clock strike half past and then headed down to check out the family museums housed in the Gatehouse. We also watched their fantastic introductory video which gave us a great overview of the site in an insightful and humourous way.
We knew that rain was due our way in the afternoon so we elected to take a stroll around the gardens whilst the weather was good. We were rewarded, almost immediately, with a very tame robin that came to give us a closer look. The variety of flowers was pleasing and the immense cedar trees were, as always, incredible (it’s a Capability Brown landscape, so the presence of cedars wasn’t surprising at all). We went to the Orangery Tea Room for lunch where their huge portions filled us up for the rest of the day.
As the weather was still holding up we decided to check out the parkland to see if we could spot any deer, which we did almost immediately! We could get pretty close without frightening them which was just amazing, meaning I could get some fairly decent shots of these normally timid animals. We also picked up a very small antler, which was awesome.
We took a walk around the lake and spotted a little egret, a wren and a family of coots which meant I got good use of my new long distance lens. This was a really nice ramble, but it gave us a sense of scale of the site – we’d barely scratched the surface of what was there! We passed by a field of Jacob’s sheep, including a couple of lambs who were happily clambering on a fallen log.
Looping back to the house via the deer proved to be an excellent idea as we found two very large antlers, and this proved to be one of the most awesome aspects of the trip. We wanted to explore the house next but decided that the staff might not appreciate our discovery as much as we did, so we handed them back in at the Visitor’s Centre. Curious as to why they wanted them back we stopped to have a very long and interesting conversation with the volunteers. Turns out, that once a deer has shed its antlers it tends to… eat them! As deer are herbivores they don’t get enough calcium in their diets and eating the antlers helps to combat this (I prefer my explanation that they like the crunch). The site asks for the antlers back so that they don’t have to provide vitamin supplements for their animals. Satisfied with our new knowledge we left our discoveries with the volunteers to be put to good use.
Exploring the house was great fun! As usual, we got ourselves a copy of a children’s trail which really helped us to look closely in each room. This time, we had to spot a fluffy fallow deer in every room and try and spot how many pikes (as in the fish) were hidden in every room. Turns out the Lucy family had a bit of a thing for them. There was a volunteer in every room and each one was extremely knowledgeable and friendly, answering all our questions and even quizzing us on some of the things we’d found out. There were also gorgeous artefacts in every room, including a full-size harp!
There is also a working Victorian kitchen on the site and there were some samples available – Welsh cakes, yum! Sarah took the opportunity to draw a quick sketch on their whiteboard of the deer we had seen. After a quick browse in the gift shop we headed into the laundry and brewhouse. It was then that the heavens decided to well and truly open, so we decided that it would be best to go home and explore the rest of the site another day. We swung by the Visitor’s Centre to see our antlers again and we found out that someone else had brought in one that was even bigger!
Visiting Charlecote Park was one of the best days out that we’ve had with the National Trust. There is so much stuff to do that you can easily fill up an entire day exploring the amazing house and stunning parkland. Getting up close to the deer was just incredible. The staff and volunteers as really added to the fantastic experience with their knowledge and enthusiasm for the site. We will definitely be going back to finish our explorations of the parkland and gardens, as well as the carriage house which we accidentally missed out. I would definitely recommend this site to everyone as there is something there for everyone to enjoy. 5 stars – ★★★★★
Hope that you found this blog enjoyable! Let me know if any of my blogs have influenced places that you’ve visited or if you agree with my findings!
See more of Rachel’s Charlecote Park pictures on Facebook!