Oxford for the day

On Saturday our walking group ventured further afield to Oxford. Oxford University is famous as one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Europe and scholars have been coming here to study since the 12th century. The town however is Saxon in origin and by 1066 it is estimated that it had a population of about 5,000 and was the sixth largest town in England.

 

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Marlborough aWiltshire town through history

I belong to a history walking group and on Saturday we were told to meet at St. Peter’s Church in Marlborough. Marlborough is a small market town in Wiltshire about half way between Bristol and London. Most English People recognise the name because Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge and her sister Pippa attended Marlborough College a very exclusive public school.  But I had no idea of the surprise  we would find in the school grounds.
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Tewkesbury a historic Cotswold town

This week we headed up the M5 to Tewkesbury a small Gloucestershire town close to the river Severn on the western edge of the Cotswolds.  The town was the site of a decisive battle in the wars of the Roses. It has a magnificent Norman abbey and a remarkably well preserved old town full of black and white half timbered houses with overhanging upper storeys.

The Norman tower of Tewkesbury abbey #Tewkesbury
Tewkesbury abbey

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An afternoon in Monmouth

We went further up the Wye valley for our Sunday walk to Monmouth a small market town that lies at the confluence of the rivers Monnow and Wye.  The settlement was first mentioned on a Roman map as Blestium , a place on the road from Caerleon to Gloucester. It is close to Offa’s Dyke the earth wall that Offa built to separate England and Wales in the 8th century. Its position meant that it needed to be heavily defended.

In the Domesday book it was described as a settlement with inferior farmland. However it became more prominent under the Normans. Geoffrey of Monmouth a celebrated medieval historian probably lived in Monmouth Priory and Henry V was born at Monmouth Castle.

The whie round house on the Kymin hill
The round house on the Kymin hill

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Frome riverside walkway

The Frome valley riverside walkway forms a green corridor from the Bristol harbourside for about twenty miles to the source of the river Frome in Dodington Park near Chipping Sodbury on the edge of the Cotswolds. Last week our walking group covered the first five miles from the centre of the city  east through the inner city with its graffiti and litter on through Eastville Park and Oldbury Court estate to Frenchay. The green corridor means that otters, bats, foxes squirrels and rabbits can often be seen in the heart of the city.  Part of the walkway is close to where we live and we  often spot cormorants, kingfishers and herons waiting to catch something for their dinner. Continue reading “Frome riverside walkway”