Golden Cap Association (West Dorset)

a local association of the National Trust

Golden Cap Association (West Dorset)

a local association of the National Trust

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On the Set of Poldark

… well, not really. But we did visit Chavenage House in Tetbury, Gloucestershire which is the site of the Manor House in Poldark, as well as being in Lark Rise to Candleford and many other period costume programmes. On a Tuesday in July 2017 it was host to a coach load of National Trust members who arrived for a guided tour and two course lunch in the magnificent 16th century, grey Cotswold stone manor house. It has many Civil War associations including the tapestry-lined rooms stayed in by Cromwell and his second-in-command, General Ireton, in 1648. The house was added to at the turn of the last century and features an Edwardian Ballroom. There is also a family Chapel next to the house.

The guided tour was conducted by members of the Lowsley-Williams family, the current owners and the wonderful two course lunch, eaten in the ballroom, was cooked by another member of the family. We were made to feel so welcome and at home by everyone we met, including three dogs who mingled with the guests and, when we were outside in the grounds, encouraged us to throw a ball for chasing purposes.

A truly wonderful experience, enjoyed by everyone, which can be recommended other National Trust groups or individuals.

There is more information on their website:

Photos by Veronica Smith & Chris Senior

· 08/07/2017 20:55 · CA Senior

Wet underfoot but we did it

Our annual guided walk on the Golden Cap Estate looked in danger of being cancelled due to the prolonged down-pour on the previous day which continued until early morning. However we were pleased to find that by the time 10:00 am arrived on 29th June the rain had stopped and encouraged a few intrepid members to venture out under the guidance of Ranger Nick Tarrier to explore the hills, dales, flora and fauna of the Golden Cap Estate.

Suitably refreshed with a welcome cup of tea or coffee and a biscuit and appropriately attired we ventured forth

Although not actually raining the day was still misty so we weren't able to fully appreciate the wonderful vistas before us, but Nick did his best to point out items of interest.

· 29/06/2017 17:00 · CA Senior

A Gothic Revival house and a train ride - nothing better

On a gloriously sunny day in June 2017 we started off our day in Devon with a visit to the NT House - Knightshayes Court a quirky 19th century Victorian gothic revival house. We were able to step back in time on the minstrels gallery; admire the intricate carvings and impressive ceilings; and take a glimpse into the fascinating career of Joyce Wethered, last member of the family to have lived at Knightshayes and four times winner of the English Ladies Championship and the British Ladies Open Golf.

There wasn't really time to take in all that was on offer as we rejoined our coach for a scenic drive through the Devon and Somerset Countryside to Minehead where we were to pick up a West Somerset Railway steam train for a 20 mile ride to Bishops Lydeard. Unfortunately our train was pulled by a diesel locomotive as the steam engine was being repaired. However this did not detract from our enjoyment of watching the scenery slowly pass before us not to mention a delicious tea of scones, cream and jam.

The Invasion of Pencarrow

Pencarrow House, between Bodmin and Wadebridge in Cornwall belongs to the Molesworth-St Aubyn family who have lived there since Sir John Molesworth had the splendid Georgian mansion built in 1773-4. The house was uninhabited in the middle of the 20th Century, before being taken on in the 1970s by Lieutenant Colonel Sir Arscott and Lady Molesworth-St Aubyn. They spent decades re-claiming the gardens from an overgrown state and shaping the house to open to the public in its current form. Today, the family inhabits one wing of the house.

On a May morning in 2017 a coach load of our members were warmly welcomed there by members of the family and their staff.

After an excellent buffet lunch served in the old servants quarters we were divided into groups for our tour around the house to view the paintings, including some by Sir Joshua Reynolds; porcelain including a large Ch’ien Lung famille rose bowl known as the Pencarrow Bowl. This had been specially made by Chinese artisans based on drawings. The outside of the bowl shows farming scenes demonstrating the estate’s connection to agriculture; on the inside is a colourful artist’s impression of Pencarrow and a foxhunt, complete with horses and riders, a pack of hounds and their rather otter-like quarry.

We were later invited to explore the garden and grounds where could be viewed a towering Araucaria araucana, the first specimen of which was bought by Sir William Molesworth for 20 guineas and planted in solemn state before a house party. Noted barrister Charles Austin remarked upon touching its prickly leaves, “It would be a puzzle for a monkey”. His oft-repeated witticism gave the tree its common name of Monkey Puzzle.

· 28/06/2017 20:23 · CA Senior

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