Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The holy place of Edwin and Rufford Abbey Country Park

In 633 A.D. King Edwin marched south to fight King Penda of Mercia. Edwin was killed in the ensuing battle, which took place near Edwinstowe at a small hamlet called Cuckney. To prevent his body falling into enemy hands, King Edwin's friends buried it secretly in a clearing in Sherwood Forest, intending to return later to give him a proper burial. When they eventually returned, his followers discovered that people were now calling him Saint Edwin, so they built a small wooden chapel on the spot and installed a priest. So began Edwinstowe - "the holy place of Edwin.". It is also  reported to be the home of the legendary Robin Hood. 

Interesting stuff but the only reason me and Sal returned was to sample the fare at the local Forest Lodge Hotel. We had been to this lovely homely pub at the back end of last year but had arrived too late for lunch and too early for dinner so we vowed we would come back to try it's food and we certainly weren't let down. My honey glazed Yorkshire ham and eggs were beautiful as was Sal's barbecue chicken baguette. Proper chips as well which is always a bonus.The only downside to the meal was that some thieving piglit kept dunking her chips in the yolk of my eggs!!

On consulting the road map after our meal, we decided that the sat nav wouldn't be needed to get to Rufford Park as we had been before albeit from a different direction. This turned out to be a big mistake because at the end of the country lane coming out of Edwinstowe we convinced ourselves to turn left instead of right, totally unaware that Rufford Park was only a couple of hundred yards to our right! We eventually pulled in and set the sat nav which was a right performance in itself and we were then back on the right track.

Rufford Abbey Park is set in 150 acres of beautiful woodland and gardens and also has the usual craft centre, tat shop and tearooms. The grounds are filled with many interesting sculptures and curios but as usual we didn't really have enough time to do it all justice. Our days out together just seem to fly by unfortunately.

The park once formed part of a 12th century Cistercian abbey and its estate. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536, the land and buildings began a slow transformation into a country house estate which at one time comprised of some 18,500 acres. However it fell into decline with a lot of the land being sold off and in 1952 the Abbey and 150 acres of its grounds was bought by Nottinghamshire County Council.

We explored the Abbey and its grounds taking lots of photographs before heading to the Craft Centre, which was followed by the tat shop and then we sat outside the coffee shop with a cappuccino each. We still had an hour left before the park closed so we had a walk by the Lake in the late afternoon sun in the company of finches, tits, wagtails, robins, ducks, geese and swans and a couple of squirrels. It was a lovely way to end our afternoon in the park.

No trip to these parts would be complete without stopping in Sherwood Forest to see the Major Oak. This was the only part of our day where the weather let us down but it was only a short sharp shower and then the sun was out again. I had a chance to show off my bird call prowess; identifying the call of the woodpecker when it's not pecking!! Sal was most impressed but only after she had checked it out once she got home.

A call in the local Parish Oven Inn followed by a natter with Sal's parents and a tussle with the Grotbag ended a "grand day out" perfectly. Thank you Sal :)

Din dins :)

Sun dial in the Rose garden

Sal says "hello"

Rufford Abbey ruins

Rufford Country Park

Rufford Country Park

Gargoyle Rufford Abbey

Sal incarcerated

Abbey windows

Heart Sculpture

Sculpture in Country Park

How does this work?

Rufford Abbey

Rufford Country Park

Rufford Abbey and Country Park


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