The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Wightwick Manor (and a bit of Cannock Chase)

With our planned National Trust property of the day not opening until this afternoon, we thought that we would fill our morning with a walk. A good theory except that we forgot to factor in our prodigious ability to faff in the process of getting out of the house.

By the time we were ready to go, we had less than an hour and a half to spare but so as not to be entirely defeated, we thought that we would still take a short stroll.

It may seem that Cannock Chase plays a disproportionately large part in our walking lives, but that’s because we cross it most days and thus we can walk there without going out of our way. Thus, it was the Chase upon which we walked again today.

Striking off from the tracks, we made our way through (often deep) bracken and into woodland, following deer tracks. In our wanderings we did find a particularly suitable, well sheltered place for camping – but of course that is irrelevant because I have already stated most decidedly that I will never camp on the Chase again. And, of course, I never go back on such definite statements!

As is inevitable, we were soon back on paths with which we are familiar and headed back to the car, arriving precisely on time. A splendid stroll, even if a short one and it was a lovely day for it: clear blue skies and no wind.

This afternoon Wightwick (pronounced Wittick) Manor was on the agenda. This is a property from which I lived half a mile up the road (quite literally, on the same road) for quite a number of years and yet in those years I never did visit it. Having passed by its entrance hundreds upon hundreds of times, I had it in my mind that it was a small place. Today I discovered quite how wrong I was. Not only is the house rather substantial, but the grounds are big enough to make for a good hour’s exploration too.

It was our third visit to a NT property this week, and it was again a completely different proposition from the others. The most unexpected fact about the place is that it was only built in 1888 (the extension in 1894). The oldest looking part of the building is actually the extension. It was donated to the National Trust (in the lifetime of the donor) in 1937 - when it was less than 50 years old.

I think that we’re maxed-out on looking around houses, manors and halls for one week. The next outing will (fingers crossed) be a stroll in the Peaks with friends on Sunday, the organisation of which is in someone's elses hands, so I await with interest to find out where it is that we'll be walking.

Husband and Ma pass the time of day whilst I snap away:


  1. I dare you to wildcamp in the grounds of an NT property and post the photos to prove it!

  2. Funnily enough, as we walked through the grounds of Shugborough last Saturday I did point out a suitable camping spot (hmm, I seem to be doing that a bit too much, everywhere we go!)... but the thought of being 'moved on' by some officious National Trust person is perhaps a bit too off-putting.