Celebrate Four Shires countryside this autumn

Written by Jeremy Wilton on .

Chillymornings, golden colour, soft sunshine - autumn is the perfect time to rediscover everything that is wonderful about the British countryside, but sometimes we need a little inspiration and help to get us started! 
  The National Trust’s Great British Walk brings together a whole season of walking-related events and activities to enjoy with family and friends. From wildlife rambles with rangers and inspirational journeys through history, to self-guided strolls and food foraging days, the Great British Walk showcases Britain’s most beautiful countryside, encased in glorious autumn colour.
  The programme is ideal for families, with loads of action and incentives to get kids outside and exploring the natural world on their doorstep, particularly over the half term period. Kids can also take up the Trust’s ’50 Things to do Before You’re 11¾’ challenge, completing tasks that turn a walk into an adventure, such as animal tracking and playing conkers.
  If you like doing your own thing at your own pace, then try out one of the National Trust’s new downloadable walks and way-marked trails. Many of the Trust’s houses and gardens sit within extensive country estates, so a tranquil stroll can take in acres of glorious parkland, meadows and ancient woodland, whilst a more challenging walk might encompass glorious hill-top views.
  If you prefer walking in a group, there are hundreds of organised walking events to choose from, with opportunities to learn about local history, wildlife and nature conservation along the way. Group walks are also a great way to meet like-minded people and share the simple pleasure of walking.
  Finally, don’t forget to share your walking experiences with friends. If you discover a fantastic new route, tell others about it, or even better, lead your own guided tour!
  The National Trust’s website is brimming with additional ideas to make your outdoor adventure even more memorable. Follow a Ranger’s advice on how to make the perfect den, turn your bitter sloes into delicious sloe gin, or make a pretty decoration for your home, using woodland materials.
  Here are a few of this year’s Great British Walk highlights in Buckinghamshire:
  West Wycombe Village and Hill: experience a guided twilight trail around this ancient hill in search of bats and other creatures of the night. Toast marshmallows around the camp fire, listen to ghoulish tales, and finish with a torchlight walk to the Hellfire Caves and a spooky tour inside!
  30 October, 4 – 6pm, booking essential on 01494 755573, free (charge for entry to caves)
  Join Stowe’s Assistant Head Gardener for a full tour of this world-famous garden, its magnificent trees and glorious autumn colour, or enjoy the follies, lakes and valleys at your own pace. A downloadable leaf spotter sheet and leaf crown template are handy for younger visitors, as are the piles of leaves the gardeners have left out specially to play in. On All Hallows’ Eve, creep into Stowe for an evening walk of ghoulish storytelling!
  Garden tour: 16 October, 2 – 4pm, booking essential on 01280 822850, £20.
  Hallowe’en Ghost Walk: 31 October, 6 – 7pm, booking essential on 01280 822850, adults £10, children £5.
  The Chilterns countryside is a group of popular beauty spots offering fabulous walking opportunities. Pleasant day long walks with a pub stop can take you through an intimate landscape of woods, farms and hamlets. Discover the haunts of highwaymen and the route good Queen Bess travelled, on a Highwayman’s Hangouts guided tour – a walk through the old turnpikes of the Chilterns, starting from Aston Rowant village.
  Highwayman’s Hangouts walk: 28 October, 10am – 1pm, no booking needed, normal admission charge, call 01494 755573 for more information.
  Be a Ranger for a day at Coombe Hill’s family volunteering event. Spend some time helping the Rangers with their conservation work and find out how they look after this beautiful area of the Chilterns. Bring a picnic and fly your kite on this amazing hill - the highest accessible viewpoint in the area.
  Family volunteering day: 1 November, 10am – 4pm, no booking required. Call 01494 755573 for more information.
  Nordic walking is fast catching on as a great way to see the countryside and really improve fitness levels. Find out what it’s all about at a free ‘taster’ session in the glorious grounds of Hughenden Manor near High Wycombe. If you’re keen to commit a little more, try a four dates with a fully qualified instructor and a great workout.
  Nordic walking taster session: 2 October, 10 – 11am, normal admission charge.
  Nordic walking course: 16, 23, 30 October & 6 November, 10 – 11am, £20 for all four sessions, booking essential through Reactivate Bucks on 01296 585215.

  For further information on the Great British Walk, downloadable walking routes, autumnal crafts and recipes, and ’50 Things to do Before You’re 11¾’ , please visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/southeast

Cropredy a hit again

Written by Jeremy Wilton on .


Fairport's 45th anniversary show at Cropredy has been voted a hit by festival goers worldwide. As well as headline act Fairport, top bands such as Squeeze, The Saw Doctors and Joan Armatrading entertained over 20,000 spectators.

Wedding Fair at Welcombe Hotel

Written by Oliver Kemp on .

welcombeweddingThe Menzies Welcombe Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon is to host another of its popular Wedding Fayres on Sunday 7 October from 12noon – 4pm. Over 30 local companies will be showcasing their products and services. The function rooms will be set up for guests to view and the Wedding Co-ordinators will be present to discuss guests requirements for their special day. Complimentary Champagne will be provided on arrival.

The luxury Hotel can cater for Civil and Church weddings from 120 in the day to 180 guests in the evening and offers a complimentary bridal suite for the night of the wedding, a spectacular Master of Ceremonies on the day and use of the luxurious Spa.

Menzies Welcombe Hotel Spa & Golf Club, Warwick Road, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 0NR, tel 01789 413824 for more information or visit www.welcombehotelstratford.co.uk

Classic Car and Motorbike Picnic

Written by Jeremy Wilton on .

classic car

Classic cars and motorbikes of all ages, shapes and sizes will take over Bletchley Park, the Home of the Codebreakers, on Sunday 5th August 2012.  Last year’s picnic in the beautiful grounds of the 19th century Mansion attracted more than 250 vehicles and 1,500 visitors.  Similar numbers are expected this year.

The day will also include a Dakota Flypast, courtesy of The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.*

Bletchley Park is the historic site of British codebreaking activities during WWII and the birthplace of modern computing.  Today the museum tells the story of the codebreakers and is home to the largest collection of Enigma machines on public display anywhere in the world.
Also on display is the Lorenz machine, an even more complex cipher system used by Hitler and his high command.  Visitors can also see the rebuilt working Bombe machine and a wide range of exhibitions which tell the Bletchley Park story.
Exhibitors will be given entry to the park at a discounted rate of £7 per car and £3 per motorbike, including occupants.  Normal admission prices apply for other visitors.  A guided tour is included in the admission price, which also allows visitors to return as many times as they like for a whole year.

*All Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Flypasts are subject to weather conditions and aircraft serviceability.