Friday, 26 October 2012

Sizergh Castle, Cumbria

How can the British Meteorological Office get it so wrong?

For the first half hour of our drive, the forecast was absolutely as we expected, a classic frosty autumn day with full sun and blue sky that was due to last, but as we approached Lancaster the clouds started to gather and the temperature dropped even further.

Autumn colour in Sizergh parkland, with the castle in the background
With both of us dressed as if we were on our way to join Ranulph Fiennes' next expedition to the Antarctic, we were tempted, even though the heater was going full blast and we were quite warm, to cut short our journey and stop for refreshment at a location a little closer to home.

However, being the plucky souls that we are, we were determined to complete the trip regardless and arrived at Sizergh, only to notice that on a Friday the house is closed! On these visits we should always check on Natinal Trust opening times, but we never learn.

Main entrance
The good news was that most of the gardens were open and what is more, the sun was making a valiant effort to fulfil the Met. Office's promise and enriching the splendid autumn colours in the gardens.

The Deincourt family had owned the land here since the 1170s and on the marriage of Elizabeth Deincourt to Sir William de Stirkeland in 1239, the estate passed into the hands of what became the Strickland family, who owned it until it was gifted to the National Trust in 1950. The Strickland family still live at the Castle.

Catherine Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII and a relative of the Stricklands, is thought to have lived here after her first husband died in 1533. Catherine's second husband, Lord Latymer, was kin to the dowager Lady Strickland.

One of the lakes
The estate covers 647 hectares (1,600 acres), in the midst of which is a garden including two lakes as well as an award-winning rock garden. The estate dates from 1336, when a grant from Edward III allowed Sir Walter Strickland to enclose the land around Sizergh as his exclusive park. The rock garden is the largest limestone rock garden belonging to the National Trust and includes part of the National Collection of hardy ferns.

Leaving for home
After taking a number of photographs in the gardens, we visited the restaurant (open to non-members), each consuming a couple of scones with lashings of butter and rasberry jam and washed down with a welcome cup of tea, to fortify us for, what proved to be, a very fast journey home.
Lovely Autumn colour
This photo was taken when we visited during the summer of  2006 (pre-Morgan)

No comments:

Post a Comment