Powys: A Day in the Life




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Days out

Illus. By Rob Davies

Many people took advantage of the fine weather on 24th September to go out for the day, and some volunteers at Powis Castle were fortunate in choosing such a good day for their Autumn excursion.

  • Weather forecast sunny, wind cool: we decided to visit the Elan Valley, which we do 2 or 3 times in a year, using our small motorhome. We set off 10.40ish, going via Presteigne, Bleddfa, Fishpools Forestry Area (where we stopped to make a cup of coffee!) Penybont, Crossgates, to Rhaeadr. Countryside beautiful despite being dry, end-of-summer weather. Had lunch at the Visitor Centre - not busy, though a number of vehicles parked on riverside field as well as in car park. Very impressed by the "Radnorshire Henge 2000", monoliths set on a Radnorshire shaped gritted area - hadn't seen it before (sheep don't seem to respect it). Drove up the Claerwen Valley - reservoirs rather low water - pause by lake at Dol-y-Mynach and chat with a lady whose husband is fishing. On to Claerwen Dam (top) and walk half a mile or so along track in sunshine - the reservoir looked beautiful (pity about the noisy planes which ruined the peace at times). Headed down the valley again and set off home about 5.30 - saw red kite, quite low as we left Rhaeadr. Lovely evening light: paused in layby on Rhis Swydd to brew up mugs of tea, and so back to the border…..home 7.15!

  • Drove car to circuit Lake Vyrnwy and take afternoon tea in the tea room.

  • We drove to the National Park's Mountain Centre for lunch - excellent as always. It's a favourite place of mine.

  • Met a friend for breakfast at a coffee shop in Shrewsbury, took along 15 month son. From there spent the afternoon at Hoo Farm. Son, Tom, loved looking at and touching all the animals.

  • I joined the volunteers of Powis Castle on their annual Autumn excursion which was this year to Shugborough once owned by the family of the present Lord Litchfield, now in the hands of the National Trust. An enjoyable day was had visiting the historic house, and the county museum which is managed by Staffs County Council and which concentrated largely on life at Shugborough in the Victorian era. The museum illustrated how greatly times have changed in the past 100 years, in particular for the aristocracy, in their struggle to maintain their estates and way of life, with reduced incomes and much reduced army of servants.

  • The coach arrived at Shugborough at about 10.40. We had coffee then visited the mansion - very fine. We had lunch and then walked to the farm. Back to have a cup of tea and then visit the County Museum and servant's quarters. An excellent display. I bought some Christmas cards and a bottle of Shugborough ale!

  • The coach left Powis Castle at 9 and we were at Shugborough Hall soon after 10.30. We visited the mansion itself, then lunched in the tea room - I enjoyed my Cumberland sausage with a good helping of vegetables. The we visited the farm and the mill, ten minutes walk from the Hall. There were several rare breeds of animals, including a huge Gloucester Old Spot sow, and the animals and the old tools and machinery reminded me of the farms in Kent I knew in my childhood. After a refreshing fruit drink back at the tea room we visited the museum, mainly dedicated to the servants and staff. We left at 4.30 and were back home by 6.50. I looked at my disks of the 1881 census and found that Shugborough Hall was virtually empty and that the earl of Litchfield of the time was living in Hampshire.

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