February is definitely cabin fever territory, so a friend’s suggestion of a trip out to Charlecote Park (NT) in Warwickshire sounded like a good idea – what could be better than a change of scenery and a leisurely stroll round a spacious and well-heated historic house? Quite a lot, as it happened.
OK, so we should have checked to make sure that it wasn’t half term – but we didn’t – and it was. It was also really rather cold and the house wasn’t that warm.
Despite its Elizabethan origins, the house itself is essentially Victorian, although there are some Elizabethan and Jacobean paintings of the family which I particularly liked. Much more interesting are some of the outbuildings – especially the kitchen and the brewhouse.
There’s a clear sense of how the estate worked as an organic and largely self-sufficient whole supporting a large household and workforce – everything from catching rainwater and growing food to doing the laundry and making butter and beer.
The real jewel in the crown is the park and the star attractions are the fallow deer who seem completely unfazed by human visitors and provided subject matter for the first serious outing for a new lens.
Two of the deer seemed to spend their entire time looking each other over and locking horns, but there wasn’t any real fighting going on, so we came to the conclusion that they were just a couple of youngsters engaged in a form of play fighting.
Despite the cold, it was an interesting visit and I’m looking forward to going back later in the year (and in term time) to see more of the deer, the grounds and the bird garden.