Monday, 9 July 2012

Its the summer holidays!

I love my job and I love my holidays and thankfully at my job I get long holidays. So the first weekday of my holidayy I decided to go to Cheddar Gorge. After weeks and weeks of rain, today was the first 'overcast' day and so I decided to go to Cheddar gorge because it is very pretty and because I needed some cheese for lunch! Thankfully on the way I could tick off one of my Enchanted Land places, Rodney Stoke a thankful village.

For those of you who don't know, a Thankful Village is one which had no losses in ww1 and a doubly thankful village is a village which had no losses in ww1 and 2. These villages had their young go off to war and they all came back. Rodney Stoke proudly professes its thankfulness, even in it's village sign. I quickly pulled over the car when I saw that they have a 'shrine' to the fact that they are a thankful village. I drove down this small country lane to find a the church perched on a small mound looking out onto the Somerset Levels

. I walked up to the church and it was locked. Disappointed I turned round to find the key holder (a village oap) who was more than happy to let me go in. He chatted to me for about 5 minutes about the church and the history and then was on his way.

As enchanted land says:
"We come to Rodney Stoke in Somerset we find a village proudly expressing its thankfulness that it offered 17 men and four women to England and all came home safely home. Nowhere else have we found the spirit of thankfulness expressed as in a lovely window here, facing the door as we came in, with these grateful words:

To the glory of God and in thankful remembrance of the safe return of all the men connected with this parish who by land and sea served King and Country in the Great War."

The village only lost four people in the second world war and has a plaque dedicated to them, strangely enough another plaque on another wall documents another person who died in ww2, it is presumed by the villagers that this person was not part of the armed forces when he died but was in a cargo ship at sea (or so I was told by the kind gentleman).

The enchanted land also talks about other aspects of the church which make it special, the tombs of the Rodney family and the pews, which the gentleman who opened the church for me told me about. One the end of each pew is carved wood, two girls (I think they were the vicars
daughters) who taught people of the village how to carve and so each pew end was carved by a different person of the village. One was carved by Reginald Hale: "who left Rodney Stoke to seek his fortune overseas sailing in the greatest ship that ever then had gone to sea, and went down with it on his first voyage. It is one of the sad little postscripts to the poignant tragedy of the Titanic." The pew carved by Reginald Hale is the picture to the right.

As I was leaving the church I bumped into the old gentleman again and he told me how they had a dig recently by the church and found roman pottery and so it seems Rodney Stoke has been part of history for years.

Anyway so from there I drove onto Cheddar and decided to got straight up the gorge. It was so fun to drive up! Yes I am still relatively new to driving and so there are lots of roads round Somerset which I find fun to drive, and this is fun! I stopped at the top (I tried on the way up but it cost £5 to park for the day and as I wasn't going to stay the whole day I kept going) and then decided to go for a walk. Near the top I pulled over and decided to see if I could get a picture of the gorge from the top. But first I had to walk to the top which was a hell of a steep climb! Bearing in mind that there had been a months worth of rain this last weekend it appears I climbed up the route that it must have come gushing down at some point. The footpath is a steep climb, and full of the gorges rocks, on any other summer I am sure it would be bone dry, but today it was very muddy and very slippery! Still I wanted to get a picture at the top (because my dad would be annoyed if I didn't) and I decided to climb it. It was incredibly difficult, but I got to the top and looked around for
the view. I couldn't find the view which is on all of the leaflets (you have to pay for that one) but I did get a lovely view of Somerset. From Glastonbury Tor to the Bristol Channel, and I believe it would be even better if it was a clear day.

At this point I was getting hungry and so made my way back down, which was even more difficult then on the way up. I was over taken by walkers, who were clearly dressed for a walk, unlike me who was in a cardigan, t-shirt, new jeans (which a dog at Rodney Stoke decided to leave his imprint on) and a pair of boots. Anyway, I made it down safely!

I had lunch at Simply Gorgeous a lovely little tea rooms playing 1950's music with 40's and 50's nick nacks dotted about. As I was in Cheddar I had to have a jacket potato with cheddar cheese (it seemed only right). I looked round the village which has some very touristy shops in it and looked to see if I wanted to go to the Cheddar Gorge Explorer thing. I decided not, as it was £18.95 per adult which seemed very steep for me, so I didn't go in the caves or up the tower.

I decided not to walk anymore but instead visit The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company which is the home of the only cheese still made in cheddar. For £1.95 you can see how the cheese is made and watch it being made and then after that you conveniently come out in their cheese shop! I had to buy some of their cheese and splashed out and bought their c
ave mature cheese which tasted amazingly! The best thing about their shop was that you could buy a knife
for 75p in case you 'couldn't wait till you got home'.

The bottom of Cheddar Gorge is very touristy however when you are driving up it, it is peaceful and definitely enchanting.

Anyway after that I went to Axbridge (which I will write in another post as this one is way too long) and then drove back to cheddar as it actually getting sunny! I drove up it again and took pictures but half way up I stopped off for another picture and heard a beautiful noise. Half way up the cliff was a man playing an Alphorn. It was beautiful just hearing this alpine noise echoing through the gorge. A perfect ending to the day.

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