The first Sunday run of the year started from Ross-on-Wye with twelve cars starting and one joining at the lunch stop. Driving through a mix of country lanes and B roads we progressed to the coffee stop at “Three Shires” garden centre near Newent. After refreshments and in some cases retail purchases we returned to our cars to continue to the lunch stop at “The Royal Oak” Broadwas. One or two late arrivals did cause some concern, but despite fuel shortages and navigation problems all the lost chicks arrived to much applause. Leaving lunch it was time to travel to our afternoon visit at “Berrington Hall” near Leominster, about twenty miles away subject to navigational errors that is! Are you reading this Mr Tomlin.The last time we visited Berrington we were allowed to park at the front of the Manor House, sadly due to Mr Elf Andsafety this could not be repeated. Pity really as we did prove quite an attraction for the general public on our previous visit.
This grand Georgian Mansion with interiors designed by Henry Holland is surrounded by parkland designed by, yes you have guessed it “Capability Brown”, his last in fact. The walled garden has an unusual feature of a semi circular wall at the rear which is under restoration at the moment. Like a lot of NT property, constant repairs are a way of life and this is the case of the central domed roof light in the very centre of Berrington.
One early owner, Thomas Harley was Lord Mayor of London in 1767 and a dress worn by his wife at the royal court is on display in one of the upper rooms. The dress was found in an attic in a north Shropshire property and was purchased by the Trust from an auction in London. It is understood that the dress was only worn once, as it was common that dresses of this quality were dismantled for storage due to amount of fabric used. When the Trust started work on the garment it was found to have one sleeve missing, so a replica sleeve was produced to complete the main dress.
So far everything had gone to plan with the bonus of dry weather, so we returned to our vehicles to start our journey back to the Forest of Dean and farewell drinks at the “Kilcot Inn” Newent. Well clearly all signs should not be taken at face value, (Open all day EVERY day) except 28th of April it would seem!
Perhaps it was just as well that only a few of the group chose to call in because like the organisers they would have been a bit disappointed.
We hope you enjoyed your day out on “Drive it Day” with our club and hope you will join us on future runs through the year.