Week 8 day 54 – Saturday 16th May

  • 25 minutes 120 watts (bike 1)
  • Flat bench, dead lifts and abs
  • Max heart rate = 116 bpm
  • Calories = 215 (total so far 18517)
  • Distance covered = 9.01 miles
  • Saturday afternoon bike ride = 7.10
  • Total distance so far = 685.00

Clearly, I’ve been getting away with too much ‘unloading’ (!) and David has now introduced a new term ‘active rest’ – which in a nutshell means; ‘don’t get comfortable on that sofa, cycling shorts on and back out on the road for a ‘real’ ride’!

The sound track today was to a film written by Emma Thompson that came out last year – Last Christmas. If you haven’t seen it, I’ll leave you to make your own judgement! Anyway, it had the desired effect as Wham music always makes me go faster.

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Continuing south on the A49, my two rides today take me as far as the delightfully named Hope-under-Dinmore.

On the way we pass through Leominster, a starting point for The Black and White Village Trail. This is a self-guided circular trail of approximately 40 miles long through the beautiful North Herefordshire countryside, with the opportunity to visit 10 villages built in the black and white style similar to Ludlow.

Berrington Hall, is just north of Leominster and building here started in 1778 in the latest French influenced Neo-classical style. However, its claim to fame is that it’s the last parkland designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, after he had ‘practised’ on 254 previous gardens, and it contains his only walled garden. Last year, local artists Studio Morison were commissioned to design a giant origami pineapple to kickstart fundraising for the restoration of the walled garden and it was hired out for various events and even wedding parties. 

There are spectacular views from the house over a ha-ha and down to an eye-catching 14 acre lake with a 4 acre island in the centre. The view in the distance is of Wales and the Black Mountains.

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And so, I arrive at the quaintly named Hope under Dinmore, where someone has gone to the trouble of posting old news snippets from times gone by. This one caught my eye; it sounds just like something you might read in one of today’s local papers – except today it would probably be stolen hub caps!

1849 – Horses have their Manes and Tails Cut Off

Some nasty ne’er do well went into the stables of Mr. Carpenter of Hope Under Dinmore and cut off the manes and tails of four of his horses.

It was stressed that one of the horses was a grey, although why this should make a difference I don’t know.

P.C. Ball was on the case, and he searched the bag of a travelling man in Hereford, but had no luck in finding anything.

It may only be a small village but it has a very grand ‘castle’ with an equally grand name.  

Hampton Court Castle was started in the early 15th Century as a manor house and the crenellations were added in 1434, after a licence was granted by Henry V. It has passed through many owners, including being used as a hospital in WWI. One of the earlier owners was Richard Arkwright (sometimes erroneously credited with inventing the Spinning Jenny). He certainly had the money to make improvements but, on his death, one of his sons took over and by all accounts got a bit carried away with renovations and the medieval appearance was completely lost. 

However, it still looks pretty spectacular and like its London namesake, has its own maze. It’s set in the delightful Herefordshire countryside, surrounded by vast lawns, a stunning woodland backdrop, and magnificent award-winning gardens.

The gardens and castle are open to the public during the summer, and the castle hosts celebrations, corporate events and spectacular weddings throughout the year. 

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Lockdown may be easing up in small stages, but if you are anything like us you may be finding all the messages on the news just a bit confusing. I thought this little picture summed it up quite well.