"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Monday, 21 April 2014

A Walk Round Kenilworth and Garden Nesting Activity Update

Leicester's Gatehouse - Kenilworth Castle

I visited Kenilworth a few weeks ago with D and E to go for a walk round the "old" part of the town.

Kenilworth castle (composed of Kenilworth sandstone) was first built in around 1122. The castle was enlarged by King John and besieged by King Henry III for 6 months in 1266 - it is believed it was the longest siege in English History. John of Gaunt turned it into a medieval palace and added the Great Hall. It is, however, probably best known due to the royal visit of Queen Elizabeth I in July 1575 where she was entertained by her favourite Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, to 19 days of hunting, jousting, music making and pageantry. Robert Dudley who held the castle from 1563 restored the buildings, mainly for the Queen's benefit creating a fine Tudor palace with ornamental pleasure gardens and a tiltyard.

We didn't visit the castle this time (I've noticed a marked reluctance by D and E to visit historic places since becoming too old to be included in family tickets or family membership!!!). I will return this summer though as I have yet to see the restored Elizabethan garden and the castle ruins are incredibly atmospheric and romantic and you can imagine just how it would have appeared to the most fascinating and interesting of Queens - Elizabeth I.

Queen and Castle, Castle Green

The houses and cottages in Old Kenilworth demonstrate 400 years of changing architectural stylesand there are some beautiful buildings.

Initially, it was difficult to get photos of the cottages due the amount of parked cars

and tourists

and, oh joy, now we have a jogger!!

So I switched to photographing some rather pretty house signs.

Finally, away from the busy area of Castle Green the parked cars had disappeared!

The lamp-posts were very decorative!

There are reminders of the visits of Elizabeth I everywhere.

Abbey Fields - a beautiful green space where ruins of the Abbey of St Mary the Virgin founded in the 1120's can be found.

Moss and lichens growing on a wall

A mixture of Cultivated and Wildflowers growing on a bank

The Castle is just visible in the background

War Memorial

Market House

The Clock Tower in the Town Centre was erected in 1906 as a focus point in modern Kenilworth and in memory of the wife of GM Turner, a local benefactor. The area surrounding the square was destroyed by a bomb in World War 2 when the top of the tower was also damaged.

Almost back at the starting point

It was lovely to see Lesser Celandine and Primroses flowering on the grass verges.

We decided to have a late lunch at a very quaint and picturesque tea room.

I just love the shape of the teapot!!! If you ever visit Kenilworth I can thoroughly recommend "Time for Tea" - delicious food at reasonable prices, excellent service and so quaint :)

A very strange name for a brewery!

In the evening I attended the Warwickshire Badger Group AGM and a very informative talk and presentation on the interactions between Otters, Mink and Water Voles. The traffic was awful on the way due to the M6 being closed and I had to cut across country to get to the meeting on time. I passed through some very picturesque villages close to Kenilworth that I haven't visited for years so as well as hopefully visiting the castle later in the year I'll take some photos of some of the villages.

Garden Blue Tit Nesting Activity

The female Blue Tit is continuing to lay an egg a day - there are now 8. She hasn't started to incubate the eggs yet so I think she will be laying a few more.


Dartford Warbler said...

Such a pretty town with so many interesting old buildings. I love the higgeldy piggeldy cottages.

Ragged Robin said...

Dartford Warbler - Thanks so much :) I am glad you enjoyed the post -its a beautiful town :)

Anonymous said...

I don't know Kenilworth so enjoyed seeing your photos. I'm fascinated by Elizabethan history too. Lovely old cottages and great to see all the flowers.

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales - Many thanks. Yes,its a fascinating era of history probably my favourite :)

John said...

A lovely looking place and your photos do it credit. I am really enjoying your blog.

Ragged Robin said...

John Wooldridge - Thanks so much and I am really glad you are enjoying my blog and are kind enough to leave a comment :)

I am looking forward to reading a lot more about your allotment and its progress :)

SeagullSuzie said...

Thanks for a great tour of Kenilworth, what a lovely place to visit-so much to see and do.
How exciting on the Blue Tit nest activities.

Ragged Robin said...

SeagullSuzie - Thanks so much. I'm glad you enjoyed the tour. There are now 10 eggs!! I wish I could work out a way of putting some video on here.

Ian said...

As we will be visiting the UK next month I have added Kenilworth to our must see list. Although you have given such a great tour it seems that it must be seen in person for the full experience.
Have been checking your other visits to castles, towns gardens etc as you have many that look terrific that are not on the usual travel guides.

Ragged Robin said...

Ian - Thanks so much Ian and I am so glad that my blog and various postings are proving useful in planning your trip. If you go to Kenilworth please go inside the castle it is so worth it and very atmospheric and steeped in history.

Is it your first visit over here? Please let me know if you think I can suggest other places either in Warwickshire or elsewhere and I'll do my best to help if its an area I know.

Ian said...

Thank you for your kind offer, it is our first visit and we have been getting lots of advise on what to see from relatives and friends.
Our problem is going to be fitting it all in, still we will just adjust our schedule as we go.
We are planning to see the castle but I hadn't realised what a beautiful town was around the castle.

Wendy said...

I've never been to Kenilworth so I loved all the photos and the history. The buildings look lovely, especially the thatched cottages. There has to be a teashop, too - I'm glad this one was good! That is interesting about your bluetits - the bird I'm watching here has 10 eggs and I don't think she's laying anymore now.

Ragged Robin said...

Ian - Have a really wonderful time :) As you say there are so many places you could visit and so much to fit in.

Please feel free to contact me either via comments or my email address is on my profile when you are here or before if you need any advice or information.


Wendy - Thanks so much. Yes, it is a beautiful little town! Same here re: Blue Tits - 10 eggs yesterday and now she is incubating so can't see at the moment if there is an 11th!

Anonymous said...

A good read as always. It's a shame you didn't visit the castle, it really is a fantastic place and definitely a favourite of mine, but I look forward to reading about your future visit :-)

Best wishes to you and your family and I hope you had a lovely Easter :-)

Ragged Robin said...

David Turner Many thanks David - we did visit years ago when the children were little - but as mentioned I really will try and return later in the summer :)

Best wishes returned to you too and I hope you had a lovely Easter too :) We had a quiet but lovely family time - tend not to go out at bank holidays because its always so busy everywhere!!!

Rohrerbot said...

Congrats on the Blue Tits! I hope she is successful this year with her little ones. I do enjoy the way you road trip. Your trips are always divided up with a nice lunch or desert followed by tea. Now that's proper!

Ragged Robin said...

Chris Rohrer - Thanks so much Chris :) So glad you enjoyed! Cake or soup whatever can often be a little highlight :)

Ragged Robin said...

Chris Rohrer - Postscript - Thanks so much for good wishes re: Blue Tits. She is incubating 11 eggs now!! - a garden record! Fingers crossed for a successful nesting event :)