Saturday, 24 July 2021

Dyrham Park

A few days ago my wife and I took a trip out to the National Trust's Dyrham Park, a favourite of ours as it has wonderful views and gardens to enjoy, as well as being only some 20 minues drive away from our house. The whole area around Bristol is full of history, from Iron Age hills forts onwards, which is rather nice as originally coming from the edge of the Fens, there wasn't that much visible history around. 

As you walk around the extensive parkland on the Cotswold Edge, you come to a great view of Hinton Hill fort, where the Battle of Deorham was fought. We put on a demo at Colours 2013 and quite scary to realise that that was 8 years ago. How time flies!

You can just about make out the levels of the hill fort, which is towards the top right of the photo. It extends towards the tree line in the distant left and is now bisected by a road. Despite it's age when you walk across what remains of the ramparts, they are still very impressive, even today.

On a clear day you can see towards Bristol and the Black Mountains, but the heat haze prevented this when we visited. I just love the British countryside!

My wife enjoying the view and the ridgeline to here left in the far distant if where the Battle of Lansdowne Hill was fought.

So after a nice walk we made our way down to Dyrham Park house itself. The house hadn't opened yet when we were there and we haven't seen all the house as it was having its roof restored, so most of the rooms were closed off. Something for another day.

The approach from the East. This was intended to have been more landscaped etc in the plans which can be seen in the Orangery below, but whether it was ever done I'm not sure.

The Orangery has a lovely collection of maps of the estate at various times, as well as a rather nice map of the surrounding area, showing the fields as well as a medieval strip system still in operation, which was quite unusual by then.

One of the maps showing plans for the extensive gardens.

A lovely courtyard used to grow plenty of herbs and rather tranquil too.

The spectacular Western approach to the house.

St Peter's church.

The gardens are being re-modelled to be as close as possible to one of the designs seen in the Orangery. Covid lockdown has delayed things somewhat and they have lost some shrubs, but still it is coming together nicely and should look superb in a few years time.

A nice cascading water feature into...

...the ornamental pond, rather choked with blanket weed. The team of gardeners and volunteers are doing their level best to catch up on over a years worth of jobs!

St Peter's Church is not actually part of the house and park, but is cheek by jowl with it as can be seen in the photos above. It is a lovely church and one that is open to visitors, a rare thing these days and also seemingly untouched by the iconoclasts during the English Civil War and the Commonwealth afterwards.

There is quality of craftsmen's ship everywhere you look. The font is apparently Norman.

The pulpit is beautifully carved and a joy to behold.

The approach to the altar has nice tiled floor, which looks to be Dutch. The Flemish triptych is beautiful.

Rather surprising to see an organ of this quality in a small parish church. However the surrounding area is full of wealthy farms and houses, so maybe not so surprising afterall.

A salutary reminder of those that gave their lives in the War, at home and overseas. There is also a brass plaque with the names of those from the parish lost in both World Wars.

A spectacular tomb of George and Anne Wynter.

A lovely brass, showing a knight in his full armour.

Our aim is to visit more local areas over the Summer and possibly to share them with you too. Landsdowne Hill is definitely on the cards again, plus some in our neighbour hood as there is quite a bit with in a stone's throw of where we live.

Sadly Covid cases continue to rise where we are and don't look like slowing down at all, so maybe out plans might have to be curtailed somewhat. However the extreme heat has broken so I might even get back to some gaming related activity as SWMBO watches the Olympics! So until next time stay safe and keep healthy.


  1. Looks like the perfect day to be out and about Steve. Colours does seem a long time ago.

    1. It was Stu and it is scary that 8 years has passed since the game.

  2. Beautiful landscapes with great vistas, Steve! Magnificent looking palace and church. I hope to see you getting in a game or two while your wife is temporarily distracted by the Olympics. I had a very late night/early morning watching the Men's Bicycling Road Race today.

    1. Thanks Jonathan and after the flatness of East Anglia (which can be beautiful too) I love the views and countryside in this part of the World. Some plans for games are formulating in my head as I type;)

  3. Lovely post mate, you took some fantastic pictures. It’s amazing to think of the labour required to dig those ridge and bank defences - and all done in a world without machinery. Phew.

    1. Thanks and I'm glad the pics came out OK as I could barely see the 'screen' at times it was so bright. Yep, looking at both the hill fort and the landscaping around the house, it is incredible to think it was all done by hand.

  4. I can see why you like the area Steve. Beautiful scenes. Indoors and out. Thanks for sharing them.

    I wasn’t aware of the Battle of Deorham. With that and Lansdowne it looks like one of those areas where multiple battles occur.

    Looking forward to seeing more of your walks.

    1. The area we live in is certainly beautiful and we are lucky and glad you enjoyed the photos. To the North of Dyrham and just across the M4 is another hill fort, to the South and just outside of Bath, Solsbury Hill fort which is a much bigger one. Given this was the old road to Gloucester, I can see why there might have been battles all along it at various times.

    2. Just looked it up on the map and I see it’s close to the A46. The area (widening it out to Lansdowne) is therefore near the junction of the main east-west (A4) and NE-SW (Fosse Way) routes.

    3. The main road by us is the via Julian, which linked the settlement that became Bristol with Bath. Off this there is another small Roman road. The Hinton Hill fort were the Battle of Deorham was fought is thought to be astride one of the main roads at that time from the London and the East of the country. So plenty of local history to explore and show, but more of the in other posts.

  5. Lovely countryside and a magnificent country house

    1. Thanks Keith. I do love the countryside around us and we are indeed lucky to live here.