Boy, is it great to get sunshine for a few days in a row,
First up we headed to Bradford-on-Avon, couldn't not go to a place that is named after me. We checked out the old St Laurence’s Church, a Saxon Church believed to date from about the 11th century. Services are still held in the church. Alongside the Saxon Church stands the Holy Trinity Church. Although there has been a church on this site since 700AD, this one was built in the 14th and 15th centuries.
Next on the itinerary was a medieval stone bridge believed to have been built as a pack horse bridge in the 13th century then widened and strengthened in the 17th century. There is a small round building built incorporated into the bridge. This was once the Town Lock-up for drunkards. The bridge was followed by a trip to one of the locks on the Avon Canal which runs through the town. As luck would have it, two holiday cruise boats were entering the lock as we arrived so we could watch the operation as the boats transitioned into the higher section of the canal on the eastern side of the town.
From Bradford-on-Avon we drove to Lacock to view the Lacock Abbey, purely an external viewing. Some Harry Potter fans may recognise this building as scenes from "Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone" were shot here. The Abbey was also used in the TV series of "Pride and Prejudice" the book on which that was based was written by Jane Austen recognised by the Centre we visited in Bath yesterday.
Travelling via Cherhill meant we got to see the Cherhill White Horse. Originally cut into the chalk of the hill in 1780. During the Second World War it was turfed over to prevent it from being used as a reference point by German aircraft. The horse is 40 metres long and 4.3 metres high and was last cleaned in 2002 and is currently looking in need of another. Further along the hillside stands the Lansdowne Monument erected in 1845.
On to Avebury to view some standing stones that some would claim to be more important than Stonehenge. These stones, erected around 2500BC consist of the world's largest stone circle and two additional smaller circles within the large circle. Combined with these were two long avenues of stones, one leading to Avebury Henge and a second continuing on from Avebury to another Henge at West Kennet. A massive project and unfortunately a lot of stones are missing, destroyed over the years and the village of Avebury is inside the large Henge where many of the smaller circle stones would have been.
Also at Avebury is Silbury Hill, the world's largest man-made hill, believed to have been built up over generations but the purpose of it is unknown. Investigations have not identified it as a burial mound.
As we headed toward Minster Lovell we passed a hill containing another chalk horse. This was the Hackpen White Horse on Hackpen Hill. Supposedly cut in 1838, little is known of its history.
Into Minster Lovell, the first of the small villages to be part of The Cotswolds, so we can be sure to see more of these quaint little cottages tomorrow.
I am hoping tonight's episode of our travels appears to be written by a more educated person as after today's drive, I can now say I been to Oxford University; even if it was just driving through it.
One of the highlighst of the day was a visit to Banbury. I'm sure most of you know the Nursery Rhyme "Ride a Cock Horse to Banbury Cross" so today I bring you in photos, Banbury Cross and the rhyme.
That's it for tonight, need to catch up on some sleep, these tale chapters get a bit long some times.