23 February 2013

Baddesley Clinton and the Heart of England Walk

It was a sudden decision to go to Baddesley Clinton, a place I had not even heard of until half an hour before I went there.

I was in Leamington Spa treating Son 2 in Pizza Express (not for the first time) and with an afternoon free the helpful National Trust app led us to Baddesley Clinton.

The main house looks cute from the outside but I lacked the interest to see what the insides looked like. Besides, that would have cost more.

The house is not that large and while it is neat it does not look that special. Apart from the moat. A moat is always special, even around a relatively small house. And this is a nice wide moat too, just the sort of moat that deters men in heavy armour and with murderous intent. Sadly the rather robust bridge to the front door makes it all rather pointless defensively though the decorative aspect is splendid.

The modest grounds have plenty of water too. There is a large pond behind the house which conditions have conspired to fill with silt so that it is as brown as the ground around it.

A sturdy path circles the gardens and the number of bridges in it lay testament to the profusion of water courses (mostly these are little more than ditches) that plague the area.

There are smaller ponds too. These once provided the house with fish.

There is a small formal garden to one side of the house but this is not the time of year to appreciate it and it requires something of a healthy imagination to picture it with flowers in bloom.

The garden path takes but a few minutes to complete and then it conveniently leads back to the converted barn which does a rather nice line in cakes.

Looking at the map revealed a longer route around the estate. This is part of the Heart of England Walk, at least I hope that it is just part of it rather than the whole of it as it is just a couple of kilometres long.

Baddesley Clinton is in the middle of nowhere so leaving the house and gardens takes you immediately in to the countryside and there are lots of sheep there to prove it.

The paths are much less obvious than those in the gardens and the little green markers that pepper posts along the route are needed to follow them.

Money has been spent here recently and new metal kissing gates have been put in everywhere. There and new wooden gates too for the farm vehicles.

Not all of the paths were easily passable and some were incredibly muddy. Like this one.

There is a frisky hedge on one side and a hard looking electric fence on the other, so wading through the mud was the only option.

Needless to say I was not dressed for that and I had to do some heavy work on my shoes and trousers when I got home to remove the dollops of mud that I took home with me.

Baddersley Clinton is just the sort of place that I joined the NT to go to. Being a member means that I can get in for free so it is possible to make short visits like this. It is also a spur to go an visit somewhere new and that is always a good idea. I'll almost certainly never go but this point is I have been and I liked it.

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