Sunday, 27 May 2012

Newby Hall

On the 3rd of May, my sister and I wanted to visit Newby Hall. 
At the Ripon Tourist Information, where so far I've always only met very kind, friendly and helpful people, they told us that although it wasn't that far to walk there (just under five miles), it wasn't a nice way, and we were advised to take the bus to Skelton-on-Ure instead and walk from there. We did that, and made sure to take note of the time the bus would stop there again for us to get back - we didn't really wish to be stuck in Skelton for the night. 
The way from the bus stop to the gates leading on to the Newby Hall estate is not very far. 

The estate itself is HUGE - you walk for about 1 1/2 miles among acres and acres of grassland, with sheep grazing as far as the eye can see. 

If it had been a sunny day with blue skies, this picture would have been the epitome of pastoral bliss in the English countryside, wouldn't it?

We were getting closer now - that's Newby Hall in the distance!

On buying our tickets, the kind people there told us that a tour at the Hall was just about to start, and they rang the house for us to announce two more, showing us which way to run in order to catch the tour. So we hurried along the winding path, catching only glimpses of the beautiful garden on our way, but we knew there'd be plenty of time for that later.
Inside the Hall, just like at Ripley Castle, photography was not allowed, but you can find pictures and information on their website. Once again, this place has been (and still is) inhabited by the same family for a long time; not quite as long as Ripley, but since 1748 is impressive enough, isn't it?

By the way - when we arrived (slightly out of breath) at the Hall, we were told that the current tour had just left, but it was just one lady on her own. The tour guide that had been waiting for us offered to take us on our own personal tour as well - that was very interesting, and of course, unlike when you are in a large group, you get to see more and can ask more questions, which our guide obviously enjoyed. She was a very elegant elderly lady in a navy trouser suit, sporting a Margaret Thatcher hairdo and wearing rather colourful make-up which prompted my sister to remark that she had probably been quite the stunner in her day.

The bus trip to Skelton, the walk (and the sprint on the last few hundred yards) to the Hall and the tour had left us in need of physical sustenance, and so our next stop was the tea room.
They had quite a variety of food and drink on offer, claiming it to be local and (some of it) organic (with matching price-tags...), and we both had sandwiches and this lovely chocolate cake as an extra treat. Believe me, it tasted as good as it looks!

While we had been walking along the pastures between the sheep, my sister had been picking bits of wool off the wire fence (the sheep can get through and wander at will, but it stops people from walking across the grass, and probably some inconsiderate ones would not hesitate to even drive on it or park their car). If you'd really be up to it, you could certainly gather enough wool there to knit a jumper with! (Or at least a pair of socks...)

After our break, we ventured out into the gardens. We could have spent hours and hours there, but we knew we had to get back to Skelton in time for the bus. We did see the whole grounds I think; they are beautiful even at this time of the year when the famous double herbacious borders are still far from the glory you can see on the website.
The column in the right picture is a memorial: In 1869, during a hunt, the fox crossed the river Ure. One of the men went one way to stop the hounds from pursuing the fox, but twelve other men and their horses got on the tiny ferry to cross the river. The ferry had only been intended for four horses at most, and their overloading resulted in six of the men drowning in the river. Apparently, the memorial only commemorates the lost hounds, not the men. And what the callous, cold-blooded Me thought in learning of this disaster was: I just hope the little fox got away safe and sound, and none of the horses drowned.

Of course, these are not all the pictures I took at Newby Hall and gardens. You can see many more on my photobucket album; just click here and then keep clicking "next" for a while :-)

We left the gardens... not through this gate, though.

Walking back to Skelton,  we did not exactly retrace our steps but detoured by the church that you can see further up in this post from a distance.
I don't think I've seen a church with a well in its yard before. What was its purpose? Surely not to draw water for baptisms? The short text about the church on the Newby Hall website makes no mention of the well.
 
Anyway, we were now back in Skelton and found that we had about half an hour before the bus was to arrive. A nice cup of tea or coffee would have been welcome, and we found a sign outside the tiny village store advertising accordingly. To our not very pleasant surprise, though, the slightly surly lady in the shop showed herself to be unwilling to allow us further inside the house than the shop itself; she obviously was getting ready for closing time (it wasn't 5.00 pm yet) and considered anything more than just selling across the counter too bothersome at this hour. So my sister got a paper cup of tea, not very graciously handed over, and we took this to the bus stop with us where we had no choice but wait - it wasn't feasible to walk around some more, since we really did not want to miss the bus and didn't know the area well enough to judge distances.
This was, in all our week there, the only person we met who was anything less than utterly friendly, welcoming and helpful.

Eventually, the bus took us back to Ripon, and we spent a lovey evening in the company of my sister-in-law and her family as well as their cats, the half-year old twin brothers Ted and Dougal.
(Don't be fooled - they are nowhere near as meek and shy as they look here!)

18 comments:

  1. Lovely photos and somehow the photo of the heart shaped hands holding the wool really catches my eye!
    I wonder if that well might have been there BEFORE the church was built? Just a guess, but that is really how I got through school, you know, by guessing!
    What a lovely spot to visit. I read that this place was used in 2007 for the TV movie "Mansfield Park", makes me want to see it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Kay! So far, I have not managed to find any info about the well, but I doubt it was there before the church; it looks pretty much of the same style as the church itself, and the stones don't look any older, either.

      Delete
  2. What a pity about the tea shop lady being mean. That's how it goes sometimes, opening hours are strictly kept. Newby Hall seems an interesting place, I've never been there. If you were here now you'd see more flowers open, the hot weather has made everything burgeon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. While we were waiting at the bus stop, we still saw people going in to buy bread and magazines, so there would have still been time for us to sit down and have a drink - especially since the advertising board was still outside!
      Yes, I expect it looks a lot more colourful now there in the gardens.

      Delete
  3. As always it was great to walk around with you. I think it's a shame that some places still don't allow photography inside. Nowadays most of the English National Trust places do but not the Scottish. Different policies for different places and owners, I guess.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do understand their reasons, John. It must be annoying to have everyone clicking away in a group of tourists instead of listening to the tour guide and moving to the next room so as to avoid colliding with the following group. And just imagine - my posts would be even longer if I had photos to show also from the inside of the places we went to! :-)

      Delete
  4. I enjoyed your tour, Meike and am glad you managed to upload your lovely photos without trouble. :-) Shame about the missing tea while waiting for the bus.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Perpetua! Well, it would have been nice, but the shop lady really was the only person we met all week who behaved like that towards us.

      Delete
  5. Your photos of the gardens at Newby Hall are stunning, Mieke. I particularly like the one with the fountain in the middle and the one of the view through the gate in the brick wall.

    Sound as if you had a nice trip in spite of the cloudy skies. Thanks for sharing, xoxox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you like them! The gate was one I simply had to show on here. It was a good day, no rain; it was just cold... But the not so "perfect" weather also meant it wasn't crowded - all the better for us!

      Delete
  6. Oh, this is very interesting. I keep thinking I have visited Newby Hall, but I went to the website and it didn't look familiar. The memorial to the hounds, not the men, is horrible but sadly not entirely untypical. Goodness knows what they used to do to children in English aristocratic families but some of them were very seriously weird and dysfunctional where it came to whether animals or people were better. I think many of them didn't really see their tenants and servants as real people.

    I think I'd have been inclined to linger in the shop with my cup of tea, out of the weather, but I am glad that this was the only surly service you got.

    Oh, I love Yorkshire. Reading your post just makes me remember it.

    I hope your mother does knit some socks from the wool, you can call them your "souvenir of Yorkshire" socks.... :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My sister left the wool there, Jenny :-)
      I agree with you about the weird and dysfunctional people; whatever they did (Public Schools and all that?) to their children, I bet some of it is still going on today. And there are, sadly, still plenty of those around who see other humans as less worthy than themselves.

      Delete
  7. More gates and doors to look through! In reference to the memorial and the person in the tea shop all I can say is that there's nowt so queer as folk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are certainly right there, Graham!

      Delete
  8. What a great post! We saw part of the gardens and the tea shop on our trip to Newby Hall, but not the hall itself. Our toddlers kept us in the amazing playground area for a little too long. Since we live close, we may try to go again. Yorkshire is such a lovely area. Grumpy shop keepers are hard to find here, I'm sorry you ran into one of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by, Joseph, and for your kind comment!
      I imagine a tour of the Hall would not be so interesting for children of toddler age, maybe when they are a bit older; I am not surprised they preferred the playground area :-)
      Indeed, grumpy shop keepers are a rarity there, and this lady was definitely an exception.

      Delete
  9. Lovely garden picture, but I agree with Scriptor - I like when they allow photos inside as well. One might think with modern cameras a rule about no flashlight might be enough in most places ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think it's just that; as I said in my reply to Scriptor, it is possibly also for the benefit of getting groups of people through the tour more smoothly, plus allowing them to make more money out of their books etc. showing pictures of the interior.

      Delete