A return visit to Witley Court – Friday 8th August 2014   Leave a comment

Actually this was a return visit for some of the children, but a first visit with Penny for others (although had been with their parents) and for one child a first ever visit

Witley Court is now in the care of English Heritage and details can be found  HERE , however when Penny and Mr. Penny’s Place were children it was a neglected ruin where local children would crawl under the fence and play. Of course Penny did not know Mr.Penny’s Place then as lived in different villages and went to different primary schools – but we did both go there to play on occasion.

Attached to Witley Court is Great Witley Parish Church with a hidden surprise awaiting those who venture inside as can be seen by clicking

HERE FOR A VIRTUAL TOUR

 

Great Witley Parish Church also has a link to Penny’s past – as when a Girl Guide,Penny took part in Remembrance Services and on a couple of occassions was responsible for carrying the flag

Penny and Mr. Penny’s Place have visited Witley Court and Great Witley Parish Church on many occasions over the years and never fail to be impressed or to notice the changes as the court gardens and the fountain have been restored.

So getting back to the return visit 3 x 4 yr old childminded children and 1 x 12 yr old foster child and myself planned this trip a couple of days in advance and then noted  with dismay that the weather forecast was not good. On Friday morning it was drizzling and the skies were grey and very overcast – still undeterred the children made their own sandwiches, we packed suncream and waterproofs and set off.

As we drove the skies started to clear and by the time we arrived at Witley Court it looked like we would be needing the suncream more than the waterproofs.

The good thing about going to Witley Court is because I and Mr. Penny’s Place are members of English Heritage we do not have to pay   when we visit any of their attractions – and our membership  covers any children we take with us. So although I had the 3 minded children and 1 foster child with me – there was still nothing to pay.

After a quick trip to the toilets we set of  down the path towards Witley Court – spying it through the trees and across the lake for what turned out to be a very enjoyable walk . We stop at the great big chunk of  fallen tree which the children climbed – and were surprised to find a puddle on the top of it!

I have lots of photo’s but most have the children’s faces showing – so here a just a few without faces.

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We showed the man at the gate our ticket – and went into the gardens of Witley Court with the imposing building right in front of us.

We turned left – not a lot of choice really as English Heritage are currently doing some work on the building and so you can’t go up the steps and in through the main entrance.

However by turning left  we cold take a good look at he formal gardens and the smaller of the two fountains

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We then went into the court itself -and into what was the ballroom, and because I know the story so well I was able to tell them about the fire that had destroyed parts of the court – and show them the charred wood and where things used to be. The children were fascinated about the story of the fire and asked lots of questions about the fire engine – and then were puzzled when I explained they dd not have a fire engine like Fireman Sam . So lots more questions about when the building was ‘fired’.

Next stop was where the grand hall used to be and the grand staircase – the children worked out where the stairs used to be – and while they were looking at this feature – I heard a noise that I recognised – the sound of the fountain starting up – and so I hurried the children back towards the gardens – but not the side garden – rather the front garden – and this is what they saw – the Perseus and Andromeda fountain!

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We walked down to the fountain for a better look – and to experience the feel of the water mist and the sound of the water cascading back down. We stopped for snack, and watched the fountain for about 30 mins, before moving on to look at the rest of Witley Court. The children were still asking questions about when it was ‘fired’ – but they were also interested in the bits of pillar and wall in some of the rooms, and in the bits of glass still visable in the walls of the orangery – and it has to be said  – lots of questions about when we were going to go to the play area.

 

Next stop was the church – the children thought the outer door was a door for a giant (it was huge) . Inside the church they looked into the mirror so they could see the superb paintings , they asked questions about the font – and the lady guide explained to them about how the font had been recently cleaned and the ceiling quite few years ago.

By now it was 12 noon – and it was getting quite hot – so we detoured to the tea rooms just down the lane – had some strawberry ice  cream- and I applied the afore mentioned sun cream to all the children.

Then to the delight of the children we started our journey towards the play area – back past the main entrance to the court, back past the fallen tree and the lake – and then we took a right turn and followed the path through the wood – going over the bridge (where of course they had to look to see if the troll was at home)

 

Then just when they were thinking that we were not going to find the park – round the corner and there it was!

We found a picnic bench – and another surprise for me – the bench commemorated the life of Clifford T Ward – who had lived in the same village as me and whose children  I had babysat for a couple of times.  (For those interested this is one of my favourite of his songs – Home Thoughts from Abroad – and it mentions Worcestershire – where I lived then – and still do although in a different bit of it  I wondered as I was sat on his bench – if he had enjoyed visits to Witley Court.

 

 

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Lunch eaten and the children went off to play on the rather grand Woodland Adventure play equipment, of which only part of it is shown in this photo.

 

And then it was time to head back to Penny’s Place – a lovely day, enjoyed by all.

 

 

 

Posted August 11, 2014 by psw260259 in Daily blog from my childminding setting

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