Hey! Welcome back to my blog about my Adventures in Heritage. This week, I’ve been getting a flavour of promotional events from the 1970s, exploring woodlands and getting up close and personal with some scaly friends at Chedworth Roman Villa.
I was back at the Coventry History Centre this week, continuing my cataloguing work in the Archives. I often find myself reading the press cuttings that I’m meant to be cataloguing, meaning that perhaps things take a bit longer to sort through than they should!
I had an interesting leap between decades when the books jumped between the 30s and the 70s. It was really fascinating to have a side-by-side comparison of the cuttings over these two decades in terms of content and graphology.
My favourite thing that I saw was a whole book about the 1970 launch of the Hillman Avenger in Malta. It looked like a brilliant event with a whole weekend dedicated to showing various special guests this brand new car. The first half of the book was full of thank you letters to the two planners – even event planners in the 70s appreciate thank you notes (hint, hint)!
It’s the second week running that there haven’t been many people in the Centre, which is really quite sad. It’s usually buzzing! I urge you if you get the chance to check out your own History Centre that you do! They’re an invaluable resource of local knowledge. Plus, a lot of them have Ancestry, which is great for family history. I once traced a branch of my family tree back to the mid-17th Century which amazed my whole family!
Rachel Reviews… Chedworth Roman Villa
This week I visited Chedworth Roman Villa. I’d never been there before but my mum remembered coming on a school trip when she was 9. Chedworth Roman Villa is one of the grandest discoveries made of Roman Britain, and one of the wealthiest villas of the 4th Century. As well as the remains of the Roman Villa there is also a Victorian Museum and woodlands.
We set out quite late but we arrived in time for lunch. The restaurant staff were extremely friendly, but sadly they’d run out of jacket potatoes by the time we got to the front of the queue. We settled for sandwiches and soup which were very nice.
The front of house staff were equally as friendly. They gave us all the details of what was available, including the Snail Trail and an audio guide that was freely available to anyone. We found that the Snail Trail was fantastic fun – who knew there was so much to learn about snails? The trail led us all around the Villa, helping us to really experience everything.
The West Range has now been covered up to protect the ruins, but also provide a place for a variety of activities. The first thing you see as you walk in are the most amazing mosaics. You’re led through the range and told what each and every room was for. At some points, there were video and audio cues that added some atmosphere. The activities were very hands on, including handling artefacts, making mosaics and… dressing up!
We stopped off for a while at the Nymphaeum (water shrine) where a natural spring provided water for the Villa. There was some very interesting history as a clash of beliefs resulted in various different symbols being carved on depending on the popularity of the Roman gods or Christianity. This was such a lovely spot – I honestly could have sat in this spot and listened to the trickling water all day!
The North Wing was mostly uncovered, but still very interesting to look around. Right at the very far end of the North Wing we saw a photographer getting up and close to something in the ruins. Presuming it might be snails, we went and asked what he had found. Turned out, he had found a little group of Common Lizards! I managed to get a couple of my own shots, and this one is my favourite!
We checked out the Victorian Museum that housed a collection of amazing artefacts that had been uncovered on the site. I was particularly delighted to see some examples of Roman jewellery and cutlery! There will be an archaeology dig on the site during August so I may see if I can go back for that.
After that, we decided to go for a walk in the woods, and complete the trails that were set up there. The atmosphere up there was lovely – you couldn’t really hear anything from the Villa and it felt like you were totally set apart. There was a great viewpoint where you could cop a fantastic view of the whole Villa, which was wonderful. The trails and their associated activities were really fun to complete, including delivering speeches in a mini-forest amphitheatre, but disappointingly some of the trail points were missing. We reported this to the staff who were very grateful for our feedback and they promised to chase this up with the appropriate member of staff. We finished off the day with an extremely delicious ice-cream, which I highly recommend!
I would definitely give Chedworth Roman Villa full marks! We had a fantastic day out and learnt lots about the Villa itself, Roman Britain and, oddly enough, snails. Everything was really well laid out and very easily accessible. The staff were extremely friendly and we felt welcomed at the site the moment we arrived. It was also great to be able to get up and close to some of the local fauna. I would recommend this to anyone and everyone! I firmly believe that pretty much everyone would find something that they enjoyed at this site. 5 stars – ★★★★★
I’m afraid that’s it from me. Hope you enjoyed my blog, and let me know if you decide to go to Chedworth Roman Villa, and if it lived up to your expectations!
See more of Rachel’s Chedworth Roman Villa pictures on Facebook!