This post has three main topics:
- the benefits of joining local heritage groups
- Witley Court is a great place for photography
- the family that photographs together has fun together
I like to plan things ahead. Nicole finds this very annoying – restrictive even. But it’s what I do. So when we decided to go to the UK I also decided to investigate membership of something like English Heritage or the National Trust. Both of these are organisations that manage and maintain monuments and heritage sites throughout the UK. So by joining, I would not only be guaranteeing cheap (read “free”) access to such places but also contributing to their upkeep. And financially it takes a family to visit about three attractions maintained by each organisation in order to recoup their costs. Well worth it. The other thing is such places provide interesting accommodation opportunities too if you wish to take advantage of them.
So on day three we visited Witley Court, the ruin of a Nineteenth century mansion that was well known for its fountain. This was maintained by English Heritage and was about 45 minutes drive down the Severn Valley from our accommodation in Redditch.
At this point let me say “what is it with the British and round-abouts!!!!!!!”. It seems like some monstrous engineering fairy decided that the landscape needs round-abouts every mile or so. Driving is so frustrating. The thing I find particularly annoying is that you must know the lane that you need to be in before you get to the round-about. The locals will not permit you to change lanes once on the round about. So if you are a foreign driver like me then beware. You will be abused and receive angry gestures no matter how politely you try to change lanes on the round-about.
Anyway, when we got to Witley Court I was pleasantly surprised. The place had a real nice feel to it, was not crowded (actually the opposite) and was quite majestic. I guess we can thank famous British architect John Nash for that (he’s the bloke who designed Buckingham Palace and Brighton’s Royal Pavilion).
As I whipped out my camera, Nicole and Rhiannon took out their iPads in preparation for their photography. This surprised me but ended up being lots of fun as we started posing for each other. This then became pretty standard through the entire trip and was really worthwhile. It was great watching Rhiannon’s photo skills in particular blossom.
Getting out of the car park there was a short walk through a wooded garden area. Rhiannon found a fallen tree and posed.
After this I experimented with a few pics of plants, trying to achieve that depth of vision with my DSLR’s Aperture Priority mode.
Then the ruined mansion itself peeked out from behind low hanging leaves. I did not realise it at the time, but the right hand side is the Parish church, renowned in its own right. Indeed, the church was built in 1735 and has a spectacular Baroque interior dating from 1747.
The site turned out to be quite large with a fountain in the back garden. Rather than do a step by step description of our explorations, here are the photos. You will note that I’ve played with post-processing on a few.
And into the Parish church.
OK. Now for some of the photos by my wife Nicole.
And some photos by my daughter Rhiannon.
So there it is: Witley Court. I highly recommend this for a leisurely afternoon, especially if you want to experiment with a camera. Besides the ruins and gardens it has a lovely little children’s playground. It can be found in Worcestershire as per the following map:
Thanks for reading :)