Sunday, 30 October 2011


This morning was rather grey and damp, but it wasn't actually raining (at least when I got up) So I decided that I would go to Stourhead, to see the autumn leaves.

I was a little startled that when I arrived, about 15 minutes after opening time, I found that the main car park was full and the overflow was getting pretty busy. I suppose that's what happens when the National Trust goes onto BBC Radio 4 and says that this weekend will be the best one to see the colours...!

Just as I got tho the entrance of the grounds it started to drizzle, and although this did stop when I was about half way around the lake, it continued to be pretty grey, so the colours didn't look as dramatic as they do when you manage to catch them on a day of glorious autumn sunshine!

There were swans swanning around on the lake, as well as the ducks, gulls and coots, and I saw a heron, too, fishing near the Pantheon, although it very uncooperatively had it's head down making it hard to photograph successfully.

I enjoyed the walk, and the views - I didn't even mind the rain, as it wasn't cold.

After leaving the main grounds, I drove along towards 'King Alfred's Tower', which is on the edge of Stourhead's park. On the way, I found a little space to park from which I could walk along to 'St Peters Pump', which is a little monument marking the source of the River Stour.

I then moved on to King Alfred's Tower itself. The tower is a folly, built in 1772 to mark the spot where it was believed Alfred the Great rallied his troops before defeating the Danes in 878AD. It's an interesting building - a triangular brick tower with a staircase in a little turret running up one corner, and is totally empty, (and very damp) It is claimed that when it was built, it marked the point where the counties of Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire met, with one corner in each county, but I am a little sceptical.

You can climb up the tower (160', around 250 steps) and it is well worth doing so - the views from the top are stunning.  By the time I got to the top, the sun had come out.

Although I visit Stourhead fairly frequently, this is the first time I've been to the tower. I'm glad I did.

More photos in my flickr set, if you're interested

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