A few days ago, my wife and I took one of our favourite walks near to where we live, namely from Swineford, up to North Stoke and onto to Landsdown Hill, site of the famous English Civil War battle. We are very lucky to be so close to such wonderful countryside as well as so much history, from the Iron Age onwards. I'll cover more in other Blog posts, but for the moment I shall concentrate on this walk. So without further ado.
|Another view back down the trackway.|
|Old workers cottages in North Stoke. Some years ago one was being renovated and the decorators had come over from Switzerland. Let's just say that you need some serious money to be able to live there, or at least in these older buildings.|
|A view from the church steps to the main farmhouse, which has the most stunning views and a very nice garden too. Frankly the sort of house, garden and view I would love to have!|
|The church of St Martin, built on the site of a Roman temple.|
|A rather poor shot looking towards the original west entrance of the church. There has been much restoration from the 19thC onwards.|
|The original eastern end of the church can be seen by the archway.|
|Wall plaques marking the families involvement in India. Fascinating stuff for a chap like me.|
|More of the same.|
|Rather hard to read, even in the best of lights, but one family memeber died on the day War was declared on 3rd September 1939.|
|The baptisimal font was carved from an old sacrificial altar.|
|I found this very moving and poignant.|
|Fighting that Harry Patch attended the dedication. He lived for another year after this.|
|North Stoke is behind the treeline on the middle left. The track by the wall is part of the Monarch's Way, the route taken by Charles II after his defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651. The view is towards Bristol and not clear in the photo, but you can see the Black Mountains in Wales on most days.|
|Another view across towards the Severn Valley and beyond.|
|A view towards the Mendips and Keynsham, but the latter cannot be easily seen. Over this hills in the middle distance came the Duke of Monmouth and his army. He got as far as Keynsham before turning back.|
|A stone marker at the end of the Parliamentarian left flank on Landsdown Hill, carved with a contemporary image.|
|Information boards are dotted across the original line at the start of the battle.|
|The hill in the middle is one side of the saddle over which both sides cavalry fought a running battle before the main battle was joined.|
|Another nice marker stone.|
|Sir Beville Grenville's monument.|
|Sadly falling into disrepair in places. The monument is covered in graffiti, much of it from a long time ago, than can only be seen easily in centre light.|
|The info board from the final Parliamentarian position.|
|Another marker from the same place.|
|Looting was obviously part and parcel of battles and campaigns during this and many other wars.|
|A view from the Parliamentarian position and the clear and open ground that the Royalists would have had to have crossed at the end of the battle. I can see why they were reluctant.|
|The Parliamentarian soldiers lined the stone walls, which made a very strong defensive position.|
|The rather beautiful valley that the Parliamentarian troops retreated down, unbeknownst to the Royalists.|
* The reason I chose this title is for no other reason than walking part of the Monarch's Way and the fact that my wife is a Princess. Sadly this does not make me a Prince, but just a commoner!
We are certainly spoilt for choices of places to go round these parts, but I hope to visit a few more places that might be of interest from a gaming and history perspective. At present we are entering yet another heatwave where it will be too hot to paint (currently forecast to be 34C on Thursday!) or to much else to be honest. As always plenty of plans but for once the glorious weather rather than lethargy on my part of putting pay to any progress.
At least I feel over Covid now and am trying to build up my stamina again for bike rides, but am not overdoing it, as I don't want to regress having come this far. So until next time keep healthy and stay safe.