We have driven along the A31 in Dorset many times and admired the grand gates into the Charborough Park Estate, but we had never been in those gates........until yesterday!
A group of relatives, of folk who have died in the Hospice where I am a nurse, got together and organized a walk through the woods and tea and home made cakes afterwards. One of the ladies has links with the estate as she rents out some land to keep some cattle.
The owner allows the estate to open for a few days every year in aid of charity so it was lovely that it was us!
The Tower was built in 1790 by Edward Drax, a descendant of the current owner who is Richard Drax, our local MP (Member of Parliament for my USA friends) His family have owned the estate since 1549 although it goes back to at least 1087 as it gets a mention in the Domesday Book. We have seen this tower in the distance lots of times so it was good to go right up to it. It stands 420 ft above sea level so there is a very good view from there.
Below is Charborough House as seen from the base of the tower. Most of these grand English Houses are too expensive to be privately owned these days and have been handed over to the National Trust, I do like visiting NT houses and estates but I am also pleased that some are still lived in and still used by families as they have been for centuries before.
From the base of the tower we could enjoy the view across the parkland, and I think that might be an Elm tree in the picture which is a bit of a rarity now, since the start of Dutch Elm Disease which has killed so many lovely trees. Through binoculars we could see the pigs in a field near Tarrant Rushton airfield where we sometimes walk.
More bluebells then back for a cup of tea and lovely home made cake. Mr Richard Drax (owner of the estate) came up with his lovely dogs to chat to people and it was a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I don't know how much these kind people have made for the Hospice but I hope they do it again one day and next time the sun shines on them!