Sunday, 27 March 2016

William Railton's Bavarian gates

Every time I have a holiday from work I get excited and think I'm going to have plenty of time to write the best blog post in the world ever, but every time I end up presenting you with very quickly written, half-finished research.

So, during this break from work I've been lucky enough to have the other half home with me, so over these last three days we've been out doing a lot of walking. It's good walking with him because I'm a bit of a scardy cat, and always afraid I'm going to lose my way, walk through private property and get shot at, walk too far and then be too tired to get home again, or embarrassingly walk around with the map upside down, back-to-front and inside-out!

Anyway, OH hadn't been well, but I needed a walk, so I decided to walk to Charterhouse in Shepshed - oh, sorry, I mean Armstrong's Mill. Now, if I'd gone on my own, which was what I'd planned, I'd have walked exactly the same route as I would have driven, so along Epinal Way, down the A512, over the M1 roundabout into Shepshed, a car journey taking about 10 minutes or so. However, OH, having been bedridden, decided a bit of fresh air would do him good, although a less traffic-busy route would be better. Hmm, I was not convinced!

We started off ok, walking up Epinal Way, up Holt Drive, past Lodge Farm, and up Badger's Walk (I may have got the names slightly wrong, sorry!). Then up Nanpantan Road, along the footpath just before the Priory that takes you out onto Snell's Nook Lane, and then along the path off the other side of Snell's Nook that tales you through Longcliffe golf course. At the end of the path through Longcliffe, we followed a path to the right and came out on the A512 at the big M1 roundabout. We took our life in our hands and crossed around this, walked on the pavement past the trucker's cafe, and then joined a path that went down towards Shepshed town centre, but which ran parallel to the A512, eventually coming out opposite the cemetery on Charnwood Road, just above Armstrong's. 

After a cup of tea in the cafe, I had a quick walk around the store: no clothes or shoes that took my fancy, which was a good job, because OH never likes to make a return journey that retraces any steps, so we set off on an even longer walk home!

The route home took us down into Shepshed town, up the other side to a path that ran along the side of Hind Leys, and led us over the M1, and onto the Garendon Estate. Now, I've walked from Dishley Grange to the Bavarian Gates of Garendon a couple of times before, but never approached from Shepshed. Coming to a row of poplar trees, I realised if we turned right we would see those gates again, in all their splendour. 
The Bavarian Gates on the Garendon Estate, designed by William Railton
The Bavarian Gates were designed by William Railton, an architect who worked in London, and won a competition to create Nelson's column, which is probably his most famous work. However, he did much work in our area, where as well as designing the Bavarian Gates, he also designed the two Garendon estate lodges, the first abbey at Mount Saint Bernard's before the one that we see today (designed by Pugin), the neo-Tudor manor house at Grace Dieu, the churches at Copt Oak and Woodhouse Eaves, and Beaumanor Hall.

Continuing our walk, we followed the path alongside the wall to our right, which then turned to the right. We didn't go over the stonebow bridge, following the Blackbrook, but instead followed the path that led to Booth Wood. What a joy it was to finally happen upon the Obelisk, which I had previously only seen from within the wood (there I go, afraid of trespassing!) and from a distance on the path towards the Bavarian Gates. 

The Obelisk, designed by Ambrose Phillips
What a thing! Designed by Ambrose Phillips, I can only suppose that the obelisk is a folly.

So, we walked through Booth Wood, across Old Ashby Road, out onto Ashby Road, through the university, and out by Towers onto Epinal Way. All-in-all, we walked for 3 hours and covered 12 miles! We could have gone in the car, but we wouldn't have seen such interesting sights! How lucky we are to live where we do! the only downside of walking with Oh is that he really doesn't like me to stop and take photographs! 
Beaumanor Hall, designed by William Railton


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