I had planned to do some gardening today, but it is raining
at the moment, so that might not happen. Yesterday was quite a pleasant day and
a friend suggested that we go to Stourhead as she is a National Trust member. What
I like about Stourhead is that it looks magnificent whatever time of the year you
visit. Yesterday the lakeside was covered in a host of golden daffodils as far
as the eye could see. As I walked around the lake, I could also see the rhododendrons
blossoming into life, as well as magnolias and handkerchief trees. There are
interesting buildings to visit as well, such as the Walled Garden, Temple of
Flora, the Boat House, the Grotto, Gothic Cottage, Pantheon, Cascade &
Waterwheel, Palladian Bridge, The Icehouse, and the Obelisk.
|In the Pantheon.|
It is a wonderful place to visit and a brisk
walk is excellent exercise. Afterwards we sat in the Spring sunshine and enjoyed
a cup of coffee. After a quick browse in the Art Gallery and the second-hand
bookshop we set off towards home. I had never seen King Alfred’s Tower before, so we stopped
off there. It is a folly on the edge of the border with Wiltshire, on the
Stourhead estate. The tower stands on Kingsettle Hill and belongs to the
National Trust. It is designated as a Grade I listed building. Henry Hoare II
planned the tower in the 1760s to commemorate the end of the Seven Years' War
against France and the accession of King George III, and it was erected near
the site of Egbert's Stone, where it is believed that Alfred the Great, King of
Wessex, rallied the Anglo-Saxons in 878 before the Battle of Edington.
tower was damaged by an aeroplane in 1944 and restored in the 1980s. The
49-metre-high (161 ft) triangular tower has a hollow centre and is climbed by
means of a helical staircase in one of the corner projections. It has a statue
of King Alfred and a dedication inscription. My friend had enough walking for one day, so she waited in
the car while I went to see the tower. I found it to have quite a spooky
atmosphere, standing there all alone, isolated in the middle of nowhere. It was
locked, only open from 11.00 until 3.00 at weekends, so I couldn’t climb the
200 steps to see the view over Stourhead. That will have to wait for another
day. We got home about 5.00 after a most enjoyable afternoon. The highlight for
me was the tranquillity of the lake, and a quote by John Milton from Paradise
Lost which I couldn’t get out of my head.
'Not distant far from thence a murmuring sound
Of waters issued from a cave and spread Into a liquid
plain; then stood unmoved,
Pure as the expanse of Heaven.
I thither went With unexperienced thought, and laid me down
On the green bank, to look into the clear smooth lake, that
to me seemed another sky'.