Saturday, 20 August 2011

Thwarted at Cornwell

Autumn is every so gradually smearing a moist, dewy finger over the tail end of summer. But still we are getting glorious sunny days, made even more beautiful for the knowledge that they will soon be gone and winter will be making yet another unwelcome visit. Marjorie and I were long over due for a spin, so yesterday we headed over to investigate the little village of Cornwell (as in Cornwell, Oxfordshire, not Cornwall at the Westerly tail end of Britain). So good to be rolling gently along the lanes again.

It's nearly eight miles away and there was a horribly long hill to climb up. We walked, up it, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine, until we found a down bit. However, our visit was to be all too brief.

There is just one tiny road running into Cornwell, along the side and eventually leading to Moreton-in-the-Marsh. All a nosy wayfarer can see are tantalising glimpses of lovely gardens and gorgeous old houses.

Cornwell, I soon discovered, was pretty much off limits; the only lane I could see which led into the heart of it proclaimed belligerently that there was 'no public right of way - private!' So I passed along, taking what snaps I could and hoping that this at least was allowed and they would not set the dogs on me.

Cornwell village is privately owned, part of the Cornwell Manor Estate, and as the
AA walking guide puts it, 'smugly holds on to its secrets'. Co-incidentally, it was worked on by the architect Clough Williams-Ellis, more famous for his pet project of the bizarrely wonderful village of Portmerion in North Wales, which I recently visited. I would have loved to have seen some of his additions, but alas, it was not to be.

So I wandered back through the only route accessible to me, taking a few furtive and unsatisfactory photographs.

Even this rickety old chicken hutch had to be shot with a zoom and me standing on tiptoe to get as little of the barbed-wired fence in as possible.

Feeling somewhat cheated, Marjorie and I pootled homewards, stopping for a rest at the generously proportioned village green at Kingham. Public to all and sundry, thankfully.

In the end, an orchard with nice looking cows in it turned out to be the snapshot of the day. Later I discovered that there is a church on the far edge of Cornwell which I could have looked at, but I think next time I'll find somewhere more welcoming to visit.

*Later edit - there is a little more on Cornwell with some pictures on this blogpost here.

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