Welcome to Lustleigh : A Short Tour of the Village – The Church, The Green and Wreyland

Walk Map

A Walk Around Lustleigh Map

Last week I was staying in deepest Devon in the lovely village of Lustleigh on the edge of Dartmoor but within the boundary of the Dartmoor National Park. In addition to everything listed on the walk leaflet there is an excellent community shop called The Dairy. It houses the Post Office (open 9-1 each weekday) and itself is open every day including Sunday. Come with me on a walk through Lustleigh …

Starting at the village centre, outside the Church.

Lustleigh Church

1. Church of St John the Baptist: built in the 12th century on a Celtic site. Inside see the raised Celtic stone and the beautiful rood screen.

The nave

The Nave with Rood Screen, Barrel Roof and Carved Pew Ends

Celtic stone

The Raised Celtic Stone

[This ancient stone was removed from the position in the paving below the inner doorway of the church porch in 1979 in order to preserve it from further wear. It belongs within a well-recognised series of commemorative stones erected in the post-Roman period between about AD450 and AD600. The inscription probably read ‘DATUIDOCI CONHINOCI FILIUS’ – the stone Datuidoci the son of Conhinoci’.]

Carved pew end

Carved Pew End

Rood screen

Rood Screen and Carved Pulpit

2. The Old Vestry: originally a school (see tablet on wall above the door). Now used for church choir rehearsals, parish council meetings and by the Lustleigh Society for the Community Archive.

Old Vestry

The Old Vestry


Tablet on The Old Vestry

3. Church House: built around the 14th century. It was once a centre for village social activities, later became a Poor House and then a Reading Room.

Church House

Church House

4. The Cleave Hotel: originally an old farm “Gatehouse” and became a public house in the 19th century.

The Cleave

The Cleave Public House

5. Tudor Cross on the village green. Made of stone with a Maltese Cross head and chamfered shaft on an octagonal base. Erected in memory of Rector Henry Tudor (1888-1904). Nearby was the site of the village pump. Only the granite trough remains.

Tudor Cross

Tudor Cross

6. Cottages around the green: In the mid 19th century many were shops and one a Post Office. Primrose Cottage [tea rooms] was built in 1940 on the site of a hardware shop.

Primrose Tea Rooms

Primrose Tea Rooms

7. Old Gospel Hall: formerly used for worship by the Plymouth Brethren.

Baptist Chapel

The Old Gospel Hall and Wrey Brook

8. Wreyland: Approached from under the railway bridge Wreyland (or Wrayland) is a small hamlet that was part of the parish of Bovey Tracey until 1957. The Wrey Brook being the boundary between Lustleigh and Bovey. The thatched cottage on the left, known as Wreyland Manor, was where early manorial courts were held. Cecil Torr’s family owned properties here, including Yonder Wreyland where “Small Talk at Wreyland” was written.

Wreyland Manor

Wreyland Manor

Yonder Wreyland

Yonder Wreyland

Small Talk at Wreyland

Small Talk at Wreyland

Charnley-Persky House Museum, Chicago

CPH Welcome

Welcome to The Charnley-Persky House, Chicago

These days Chicago is famous for its architecture and I would highly recommend one of the Chicago Architecture Foundation Architectural Tours – by bike, on foot, by bus, by boat and even on the elevated train. On one of our earlier visits I did their River Cruise along the Chicago River ending up out on Lake Michigan for a magnificent skyline view of the city.

On another visit I travelled out to Oak Park famous for it’s Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio Tour and the sheer number of Wright designed homes in the immediate neighbourhood. Then last time, in 2007, we travelled south to the University of Chicago and did the Robie House Tour.

Michelin Chicago 2013

As it’s 6 years since we were last in Chicago I bought a new 2013 guide book Michelin Chicago and was delighted to find that there was a further Frank Lloyd Wright house open to the public just a few streets away from our hotel at Delaware Place.

Charnley-Persky House front

Front View – Charnley-Persky House

The James Charnley House is at 1365 North Astor Street in a lovely tree-lined residential area called Gold Coast. The houses are very big here and many of them are worthy of a mention as there is 2.3 mile walking tour describing many of them in my Michelin Guide. 

Rear CPH

Rear View – Charnley-Persky House

Arriving at the house in good time – tours are (in theory) limited to 15 – I signed in and waited around for ours to begin. More and more people kept turning up (over 30) but that didn’t seem to stop our docent (tour guide) from welcoming us all. I had my $10 note ready to pay but it turns out that the Wednesday at noon tour is free. No wonder it was so popular.

Close-up CPH

Front Detail – Love the Doggy Bowls – Gold Coasters love their dogs!

The introduction took place in the tiny shop which had formerly been the family kitchen and from where we headed out across the street to study the exterior before entering through the front door and being shown the ground and first floors.

James Charnley was a wealthy businessman who dealt in the railways and in lumber. The house was built in 1891 and was of a completely new and different style with very few classical references.

Designed by famed Chicago architect Louis Sullivan of the firm Adler & Sullivan in 1891, the Charnley-Persky House is a National Historic Monument as well as one of the few surviving buildings that displays the combined talents of Louis H. Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright. The house embodies Sullivan’s desire to develop a new form of American architecture that would break with the past and would express new American ideals. Wright called it “the first modern house in America”. This new style heralded a fundamental change in architectural style.

The Charnley-Persky House is recognised as a seminal house in the development of modern residential design as well as a keystone in the architectural philosophies of Sullivan and Wright.”

[From the Charnley-Persky House flyer]

But what is the Persky connection? Also from the reverse of the flyer :

In 1995, funds to purchase the house were provided by Chicago philanthropist Seymour H. Persky. The Charnley-Persky House is the national headquarters for the Society of Architectural Historians, a membership organization that promotes the study and preservation of the built environment worldwide.”

Ground floor hall

The ground floor hall is filled with light from the floor to roof atrium

Inside the house, interestingly, it didn’t seem so big. There were just two rooms plus hall or landing on each floor. Charnley being in the timber trade the house features lots of beautiful wood – mainly white oak but mahogany in the dining room.

Roman and Chicago Common brick

It is built of Roman brick with Chicago common brick used for the lower, unseen levels. There is no garden and no coachman or coach house. The first floor balcony (our guide insisted it wasn’t a loggia!) is the only outside space.

Balcony detail

Balcony detail – circles and squares are found throughout the house design

You can see in the photo of the rear of the house that there’s just one window at the back.It’s the beginning of a FLW trademark to let as much natural light into the house as possible. The staircase runs up the back of the house but despite the lack of windows on the east side light filters in through the wooden bannisters.


The fancy metal work and leave patterns are typical Louis Sullivan designs whereas the geometrics are very Frank Lloyd Wright.

The house has been wonderfully renovated since being taken over by the SAH and although it’s empty of original furniture the fixtures and fittings have been preserved virtually throughout.

Gas and electric light

Original gas and electric light fitting

The 45 minute house tour lasted well over an hour. Afterwards I took the bus south along Michigan Avenue (The Magnificent Mile) to the Loop Chicago business district for a quick look at The Auditorium Building and afternoon tea at a favourite Chicago restaurant Russian Tea Time.

Auditorium Building

The Auditorium Building is now The Roosevelt University

The Auditorium Building launched the careers of architects Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan. … [It] ranked as the tallest and heaviset structure in Chicago when it was completed in 1889. The pioneering multi-use building … incorporated a 400-room hotel, a 17-storey office-tower and a 4,000 seat theater.” [Source: Michelin Chicago, 2013]. It is now occupied by The Roosevelt University.




Interior Photos of the Auditorium Building

Russian tea

Russian Tea at its Best!

A Great Time in Malvern : Books, Tea and a Theatre Visit

Last Saturday I arranged to meet up with a couple of members of my online book discussion group for our annual ‘Summer Meeting’ away from London (last year we were at Chatsworth).  This year’s venue was Great Malvern in Worcestershire. I had never been there before, nor I believe had Carol, but Simon (Stuck-in-a-Book) used to live not so far away in Eckington so he was pretty familiar with the town and its book shops, of course.

Malvern Map

These meetings generally follow a similar pattern. Meet for tea and cake, head off to a book shop or two, decide to have a light lunch, followed by more book shopping and ending with more tea (and often, cake). Anyway the theme is always of tea, cake and books in some kind of order.


Picture Source

As I was dropping off another friend at Great Malvern Station I arranged to meet Simon there. The station is probably one of the prettiest I have ever been to – there is a tea shop (Lady Foley’s Tea Shop) with tables and chairs outside on Platform One and as it is a listed building you can imagine it still has the signs and furniture of a bygone age. The station is slightly out of the town centre though so we drove, uphill, to a more convenient car park.

Priory Church Malvern

Great Malvern Priory Church

Malvern Hills

Malvern Hills

There are two very prominent features  that dominate the town: the Malvern Hills that rise straight up vertically behind the town to the west and Great Malvern Priory right in the town centre and which is also the parish church.

After our first tea and cake at Mac and Jac’s near the Priory and a visit to the friendly, helpful and well-stocked Malvern Bookshop :

The Malvern Bookshop
7 Abbey Road
MALVERN Worcestershire WR14 3ES
tel: 01684 575915 fax: 01684 575915
Open: Monday – Saturday 10.00 – 5.00, closed Thursday and best to ring first in the winter.
Several rooms carrying large diverse stock. Quality books bought and sold. Music a speciality. By the Priory steps near the Post Office.

we decided to head up, straight up, vertically up to St Ann’s Well for lunch.

St Ann's Well Cafe sign

St Ann's Well

For me it was well worth the climb to see the original well/spring and enjoy lunch on the terrace. The trees are very tall and block the view from the cafe itself but we had fantastic views each time we stopped for breath and looked back across what must be The Vale of Evesham.

View as we start our ascent to SAW

The View as begin our ascent to St Ann’s Well

View from our descent into Malvern

View as we return down to Malvern

In bygone days Malvern water was remarkable for its healing virtue, an efficacy that was held to be supernatural. How early the waters gained local repute it is impossible to say; but the fact that the old spring at Great Malvern is dedicated to St Ann, and that the well at Malvern Wells is the Holy Well, carries their reputation far back into the Middle Ages at least; while documentary evidence exists that they were in exceptional request early in the seventeenth century, especially for skin diseases, as public open baths.” So says my rather old copy of Ward Lock & Co’s “Malvern” illustrated guide book.

Ward Lock Malvern

Surely everyone has heard of Malvern Natural Spring Water – the only bottled water used by our Queen Elizabeth II, which she takes on her travels around the world. Or does she still? There are still many natural springs around the town – some with warning signs.

Safe Malvern water

‘Safe’ Malvern Spring in the Town

Natural spring water but beware

Natural Spring Water – but beware!

Spring Water

St Ann’s Well

Simon suggested a slightly less steep descent into town and a visit to Books for Amnesty :

Books For Amnesty
3 Edith Walk
MALVERN Worcestershire WR14 4QH
tel: 01684 563507
Open: Monday – Saturday 10.00 – 5.00.
Large general stock of donated books in all categories and at reasonable prices. Malvern has two other secondhand bookshops.

As we arrived he pointed out to me the world’s smallest theatre building in a converted Gents public convenience. I was intrigued and left the hard core book buyers in order to investigate. I bought a ticket for the five minute show and was entertained by The Deep Sea Diva and Stradi and his Various Voyages amongst others. After the show there is a photo opportunity which I couldn’t resist! [Pictures below]

Eventually we bought ices from the shop next door and headed to a park to eat them in the sunshine and for a final ‘show-and-tell’ of the books we’d bought before going our separate ways at around 5.30pm. We all agreed that it had been a most perfect day. We’ll soon be planning the next one …

Theatre of Convenience

The Theatre of small Convenience

Theatre sign

About the Theatre

The Theatre

The Theatre

Photo Opportunity

Photo Opportunity!

Walking in a Winter Wonderland at A and B. Adelboden and Bürgenstock.


Adelboden sign

When I arrived in Adelboden the Friday before last I had with me hiking instructions for a “Panorama trail on a sunny slope” supplied on the myswitzerland.com website. It was already snowing madly so I enquired at the Tourist Office whether the trail would actually be cleared. The response was that the trail was closed due to avalanche warning. An alternative was suggested and the details supplied. It’s never a problem undertaking a hike in Switzerland. You don’t need maps and GPS and all that pallaver. Every time there’s a cross roads or split in the path the sign will indicate the way. It will also give an indication of difficulty and an approximate time to get you comfortably to your destination.

Snowy Adelboden

Adelboden from my snowy path

My recommended destination was to be Schermtanne where there’s a restaurant and from where I could catch a bus back to Adelboden in time for my 2pm appointment at Our Chalet. An hour and a half steady walk would be just fine. Still the snow continued to fall as up and up I went along the snowy path. The whole valley soon spread out before me but no sign of the snow abating.

Boots gone!

Too deep for my boots!

The road became a track, became a path and the snow got deeper and deeper. After three quarters of an hour I came across a woman with snow shoes and with two small children in sledges pulled by two dogs.

Adelboden sledding

The woman advised me not to go any further as I was not wearing snowshoes. I carried on to a little viewpoint and the next sign post.

Time to give up

The snow’s rather deep so time to turn back.

From there I was happy to descend to town again. The snow began to ease up and by the time I was back in the village the sun out and blue sky showing behind the clouds.

Sun coming through

Cafe Schmid

I was glad to get my legs under the table in the Cafe Schmid!


Track to Bürgenstock

Path to Bürgenstock

Towering way above Lake Lucerne in Central Switzerland is the rocky outcrop of the Bürgenstock. It isn’t particularly high but the views (on a clear day) are dramatic. There used to be two or three very grand hotels but the whole lot looks to be coming down and a new resort is under construction. In summer there’s a lift from the little quay on Lake Lucerne up to the summit and the hotels (there is even a golf course) but last Tuesday we drove up the twisty turny road from Stans and parked at the Villa Honegg and walked for about 40 minutes along a fairly clear path (considering the amount of snow that was falling). Did I mention that this part of Switzerland had not had so much snow fall since 1970?

B.Stock signpost

Bürgenstock signpost

On Bstock path

On the Bürgenstock path

Nur für Golfspieler

Only for Golfers

Chapel at Bstock

The Chapel at Bürgenstock

We tried to see the view of the Lake but it was impossible so returned to the VH for a warming pot of tea.

Lake Lucerne

Impossible to see Lake Lucerne from the viewpoint

The Bernese Bears and the Saturday Food Market

I’ve written about Bern and its bears here once before, about a year ago, when an article in the Independent prompted me to wander down Memory Lane not knowing, at the time, when I’d next make a visit there.

Bern Market cook book

The Old City of Bern is classed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and this is not surprising when you see it. It’s a beautiful city with lovely cobbled streets, beautiful architecture, famous shopping arcades with delightful, mostly ‘one-off’, shops but very far from being a museum-piece. It hosts lively markets and is busy and bustling. I love it.

Choosing bread

Choosing breads

B had finally finished work for the week and early on Saturday we walked to the Old Town to shop at the market, have a coffee and walk along the arcaded streets down to the new ‘Bear Pits’ – or Garden, really – on the opposite bank of the River Aare. It was freezing cold and snowing but this didn’t stop anyone going about their business and the market (although very much bigger and busier in the summer months) was thriving.

Cheese stall

Cheese stall

Meat stall

Meat stall

B knew all the best stalls for buying our commissions: cheese and dried meats for our Raclette evening meal, vegetables and breads. In order to defrost we nipped into the Einstein Cafe – a popular, currently trendy, cafe just by the market and under the (not open in February) Einstein House Museum. [I discovered on this visit that Einstein also lived for some time in the same street as B but as it was dark on Saturday evening I was unable to take a decent picture – next time!]

Tea at Einstein

Tea at Cafe Einstein – relatively the best

Warmed, we left the cafe to visit the bookshop over the street. Naturally, we browsed and chatted about the books and authors we saw and B ended up buying a book, which, had it been in English, I too would have succumbed to buying. Translated the title is “On the track of Byron and Tolstoy: a literary hike from Montreux to Meiringen”. I’m hoping that in the spring B and P may put this reading into action and participate in at least some of this week-long hike and report back to me on its progress.

Byron Tolstoy book

From here we walked through arcades until we finally had a view of the Bernese bears new ‘garden’ no longer a pit but a very open area alongside the river – much more pleasant for both bears and visitors. Of course, the bears were sleeping so we didn’t catch sight of any.

Bear Garden

The new Bear Garden in Bern

You won’t be surprised to see that bears turn up everywhere in the city and Canton of Berne.

Bern signMuseum bear

Bear postcards


Views from Swiss Windows: Homes and Hotels

Yes, all those lovely views from clean and comfy trains are all very well but by far the best thing about Switzerland, for me, is meeting up with friends and sitting in a cosy home or hotel lounge or tea shop or cafe and just chatting about in myriad of topics (not excluding Miladysboudoir!). In Bern with B the chatter is comfortably (for me, anyway) in English. I know she loves to keep her hand in! But in Central Switzerland it’s in German: mine rather rusty from school days and Susanne’s in Hoch Deutsch for my benefit. But we manage all the same kind of topics, nevertheless.

On this visit I had the good luck to visit several beautiful places and sip tea at mountain top hotels and cosy cafes as well as the comfy and relaxed sitting rooms and kitchens in my friends’ homes.

View of River Aare

Barbara’s kitchen overlooks the Bern’s River Aare

View from Cafe Schmid

Adelboden from Tea-Room Schmid

Adelboden from Our Chalet

Adelboden from Our Chalet Dining Room

Schwellenmaetteli Bern

Bern’s Munster (Cathedral) from the Schwellenmätteli Restaurant in the River Aare

Villa Honegg

Snowy afternoon at the Villa Honegg, Bürgenstock

View Wolfenschiessen

Snowy outlook from the sitting room at Wolfenschiessen (on a clear day you can see the Titlis Mountain above Engelberg)

Art Deco Hotel Montana

Lake Lucerne from the Osterwald Bar at The Art Deco Hotel Montana

Lucerne from A D H Montana

The city of Lucerne from the A D H Montana terrace

A Dam Busters Walk and A Damn Good Lunch

Our younger son lives in Sheffield so we arranged to go Christmas Shopping (with a difference) together today. We met up at The Ladybower Inn then headed to a small car park beside the upper part of Ladybower Reservoir in the Derbyshire Peak District National Park.


Lovely Ladybower

There are good paths along the edge of the ‘lake’ and there’s a visitor centre and cafe and other facilities at the northern end of the reservoir.

Dambuster books

A Selection of Dam Busters Books in the Visitors Centre

From there it’s a bit of a climb up to the Upper Derwent Reservoir where the ‘Dam Busters’ trained and practiced their low level flying during the Second World War.

Upper Derwent Reservoir

The Upper Derwent Reservoir

Derwent Dam and Sign

Note the Derwent Dam (very loud!) in the background

Derwent reservoir was used by the RAF’s Dambusters to practise their low level flying techniques during 1943, in preparation for delivering Barnes Wallis’ famous ‘bouncing bombs’ to German dams. Located in the West Tower of the Derwent Valley Dam is the Derwent Dam (617 Squadron) Museum which houses a collection of memorabilia dedicated to the famous Dams Raid carried out by 617 “Dambusters” Squadron.

Dam Museum

Dam Busters Memorial

Dam Buster’s Memorial

It includes photographs and other material covering all aspects of the Dams Raid, including details of the training flights carried out by 617 Squadron over the Derwent Dam and material relating to the film “The Dambusters” starring Richard Todd as Guy Gibson, made in 1954. There is also an example of the famous “Bouncing Bomb”, which forms the centrepiece of the museum’s display. Opening times are 10.00am to 4.00pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays only.” 

[from http://www.derbyshireuk.net/derwentvalley_reservoirs.html website]

West Tower

The Museum is housed in the West Tower

The museum was closed as our visit was on a Saturday but definitely worth a return visit. We climbed up to the see the West Tower and were intrigued to see a memorial to a loyal dog nearby.

TIP Memorial

The Memorial to faithful Tip

Our walk continued on the eastern side of the reservoir past a National Trust owned farm but only too soon it was time to turn back to the cars. N often runs right round Ladybower: a total of 11km including the additional 2 km to and from the car park at the Ladybower Inn. But the days are short at this time of year and we hadn’t even started our shopping.

Old House Farm

Old House Farm

So, back at the cars we headed for Hathersage and the lovely Country Shop at David Mellor’s Round Building. I also recommend the Cafe where we had fresh warm soup and chunky bread for our late lunch. There’s also a Design Museum showcasing David Mellor’s work within the building.

Design Museum

The David Mellor Design Museum (yes, those are his traffic lights!) and Café

By 4 o’clock it was dark and time to head back up the M1 to Leeds. Yesterday the weather was icy and  freezing cold (-3C)  but with typical British contrariness today the temperature hit 8C. I’m glad I was able to make the journey without any hitches. It was well worth the trip. I hope the recipients enjoy their gifts. We certainly enjoyed shopping for them!!

Buckfast Abbey Window

Earlier this month Lynne commented here that she loved the blues of the Millennium Window by Tom Denny at Bolton Percy church she compared it with the newer window at Buckfast Abbey.

Tom Denny Millenium Window, Bolton Percy

So, after we left Dartington late last Thursday afternoon we drove a few miles to Buckfast Abbey. Lynne specially wanted to show me the stained glass window in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. But before heading into the Abbey tea and cake called. The Grange Restaurant can be highly recommended for its homemade cakes and cheesecakes!

The Abbey interior and exterior are currently undergoing major renovation works. The nave is full of scaffolding but we made our way to the only dust-free, quiet area The Blessed Sacrament Chapel.

“In contrast to the rest of the Abbey, the Blessed Sacrament Chapel brings a touch of modern. After the main church was completed, the chapel was added to provide a place for quiet prayer, especially during the summer months when thousands of people visit the church daily. The splendid stained glass windows depicting Christ at the Last Supper, were designed and made in the Abbey’s workshops by the monks.”


The window is breathtaking and to think that it was made by the monks themselves and we could actually touch the chunky roughly-hewn glass.

Day Out at Dartington Devon with Dovegreyreader

The Dovegreyreader has made several comments to me to the effect that reading Milady’s posts here save her a great deal of time and expense and the bother of travelling when she can read about the places that appeal – with her feet up by the fire in winter or in her deckchair in the garden in summer. Well, last Thursday she was persuaded to leave home and travel a few miles across misty Dartmoor to join me and act as guide for the day at the Dartington Estate near Totnes.

The arrangement was to meet late morning at The Cider Press Centre, now called simply, and to the point, Dartington Shops. This was the part of the Estate that I was already familiar with and it was by mutual consent that we headed straight for Cranks Restaurant. I’d eaten here many times over the years since the early 1980s and I have the cookery book still. It’s been well-used and the recipes are well-loved. The restaurant and the food were little-changed and with tea and cake followed later by soup and cheese scones we clung to our table for probably three hours (who’s counting the time when there is so much book and family talk to catch up with??).

Eventually we decided a walk was in order as that had been the ‘plan’ for the day in the first place and our reason for meeting at Dartington; besides we needed to work up an appetite in order to take afternoon tea at some point later in the day!

We headed straight out of the car park along a public path (past the former Dartington School) and along the main approach road to Dartington Hall to our first port-of-call the School’s  former Headmaster’s House – High Cross House.

It’s now under the auspices of The National Trust and is a fine example of Modernist architecture and a host to a number of exhibitions and resident artists. There’s a cafe (that spreads out onto a roof terrace in summer) and small bookshop. The house has a relaxed atmosphere and you may sit on the chairs and handle the books.

Comfy chair originally to be found in the common rooms at Dartington Hall residences

Cafe Terrace

Colour Theory and the View of  High Cross House Garden

Staircase at High Cross House

Any artist who is in residence that day and helpful room stewards will also answer any questions you may have. Here is the NT brief resumé of the house :

“Built for William Curry, headmaster of Dartington Hall School, this Modernist gem was commissioned by Leonard Elmhirst and designed by William Lescaze in 1932. The house still evokes the ‘serenity, clarity and a kind of openness’ described by Curry.

High Cross is one of Britain’s most celebrated Modern residences, and we are excited to be presenting it to the public under our management, working in partnership with the owners of High Cross House, the Dartington Hall Trust.

The architecturally important building is playing host to contemporary art exhibitions and sales, talks, demonstrations and musical evenings, and is a perfect and unusual space for events. High Cross is to become a local centre for contemporary arts, as a community-led sustainable model of management.”

View from the footpath – High Cross House to Dartington Hall

From the HCH we headed towards Dartington Hall which I particularly know of as host to the summer Ways With Words literary festival. I’ve only heard of it and read about it but DGR has attended and participated there. This makes her the perfect guide to the estate and buildings.

In the gardens we admired the autumn colours and sculptures and topiary and we entered the Hall and the Residences. Lynne painted a vivid picture of leisurely picnic lunches, crowded halls of participants on tiered seating and comfy common room chats bringing the summer festival alive for me.

Dartington Hall and Garden Topiary

Henry Moore Reclining Figure Sculpture

The Dartington Hall

Calligraphy at Dartington

Bolton Percy : the Perfect October Morning Out

Barely half an hour’s drive from home we turned off the A64 Leeds to York road into Tadcaster and there’s a little sign ‘Bolton Percy’, which would be easy to miss, just after crossing the River Wharfe in the centre of town. About 3 or 4 miles down this lane and we arrived at the village of Bolton Percy. On the right as you enter the village there’s a cricket green and pavilion and soon on the left is the car park for D’Oyly’s Tea Room.

We parked up and went to explore the village. Right in the centre are the four other things we came to see –

the No-dig churchyard,

All Saints church,

the Crown Inn

by the ancient river crossing

and the piece de resistance the fifteenth century Bolton Percy Gatehouse recently fully restored and now let as holiday accommodation by The Vivat Trust.

I first heard about the village of Bolton Percy when The Vivat Trust added the Gatehouse to its portfolio. Later I read a magazine feature in Intelligent Life about Tom Denny and the installation of the Millennium Window in All Saints Church. Any reference to English country (or other) churches always leads me to my Simon Jenkins’ ‘England’s thousand best churches(All Saints was awarded one star) and a couple of years ago Nun Appleton Hall (about a mile or so from BP) turned up in another book I was reading : Michael Holroyd’s ‘A Book of Secrets: illegitimate daughters, absent fathers‘. (I checked with the waitress at D’Oyly’s) and it’s impossible to see the Hall from the road and no Rights of Way pass through the estate). Internet searches for Bolton Percy bring up D’Oyly’s and further searches for All Saints church bring up references to Roger Brook and his No-Dig Gardening in the churchyard. So, when a walking friend urged me to let her treat me to lunch or tea as a ‘thank you’ for the lifts I’ve given her (I’m always happy to have her company anyway) I suggested we might give Bolton Percy a try.

Jenkins says : “The church sits on the Yorkshire plain next to the remains of a river crossing. The gatehouse of an ancient manor lurks next  door among the trees”

The early 15th century church is big and grey, its white limestone interior darkened by age and stained glass, but saved from impenetrable gloom by some clear windows in the south aisle.”

“The Jacobean box pews are complete, with charming knobs as poppy-heads.” Currently decorated in anticipation of Harvest Festival.

“There are two pulpits,  one early 17th century and one early 18th century, the former austere, the latter more flamboyant, its tester supported on an Ionic column.”

Then there are the stained glass windows : an east window with a rare depiction of the Virgin Mary as its centre piece;

the Burne-Jones for Morris and Co. Caritas window;

the Millennium window by Tom Denny inspired by Isaiah 43: “I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” The River Wharfe flows through it and an owl and a curlew are flying.

Outside and just across the road is the continuation of the churchyard. This lovely, natural space is full of wildflowers and a haven for wildlife and a peaceful resting place for Bolton Percy villagers. I’m sure it is hard work keeping it looking naturally ‘unkempt’.

It was a difficult decision as to where to take lunch but we finally chose the tea room and enjoyed a toastie followed by tea and lemon cake. All homemade and beautifully served on classic china. A perfect morning out.