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.


  1. Gretel, how I wish that I had a bicycle, and lived somewhere where I would feel confident enough to cycle multiple miles. Kudos to you and Marjorie. One of my work colleagues bicycles over a bridge to work from Brooklyn. I always pray for the roadway safety of this colleague.

    Moreton in the Marsh is a place I have visited on a day train journey from London. I still remember walking around and coming upon a parked station wagon filled with dogs who immediately started barking as I walked past. Oh, the excitement that my presence must have given them. As their barking got really loud, their master returned to open the driver's door and take them to their next (probably home) destination. He apologized over and over again for all their disturbance.

    Gretel, this happened over 15 years ago, and it all came back to me in a flash, courtesy of your Cotswold peeping.

    Sorry that your cycling did not grant you entry into those "private" lanes. Their loss.

    I love the way that you describe these late summer days.


  2. Hello Gretel,

    So sorry you did not get a better look at the inner Cornwall must be nice to have that much money, but a little sad at the same time.

    You and Marjorie still seem to have enjoyed the day...and the cows ;->

    Janet xox

  3. Stunning views especially the ones with cows and bycle.

  4. What gorgeous scenery and your photos capture it perfectly. This is my first visit to your blog but I'll be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  5. Gretel, That old chicken shack looks like something I would see here in East Tennessee. Marjorie doesn't look the least bit tired after her journey, and what a journey it was! It is too bad the town was locked up tight, but you did get some lovely photos anyway.

  6. For various reasons, I haven't dropped in to your blog in a while. Now I remember why it's on my Favorites list. I love seeing your beautiful country through your eyes. Thanks for the breath of fresh air.

  7. I always feel like I've gone on a lovely trip reading your blog Gretel! :)

  8. How very unwelcoming of the inhabitants of Cornwell.
    Come to the Shropshire Hills, we are friendly and enjoy visitors. And he hills are gorgeous too. Perhaps a little too hilly for Marjorie?


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