minsterlovell

img_0150 I have lived in the Cotswolds for over 20 years, and yet I’m still discovering new places this summer since moving back home. Sometimes it simply takes a couple of new maps & a bit of enthusiasm to see somewhere with a fresh pair of eyes.  With the help of 50 Walks in the Cotswolds I discovered somewhere I had previously been completely unaware of… Minster Lovell. Just a couple of miles from Witney, it’s a stunning ruined manor house which has become one of my favourite places to walk, forage and relax this summer. Its opening hours make me chuckle every time!  I have not visited at an unreasonable time, so do not know what happens if you do…img_0141 img_0379It’s not only Truffle who likes the place for swimming too… the Windrush river passes right by the ruins and people swim here & further down into the woods where it gets deeper. Despite all the “Don’t” signs, people come here to climb, have camp fires & picnics, walk their dogs, swim & hang around and I think it’s rather reassuring that it’s so well loved. If you would prefer to see it at a quieter time however, go early in the morning or during the rain, which I have also done, when it becomes a quietly reflective environment. It’s the perfect place to draw of course! I started off my ‘Ruins Sketchbook’ here. It is also a good place to have a walk & a think, so follow the easy 4 mile circular walk to Crawley if you get the chance.

“I’m weary of dancing now,” she cried;
“Here, tarry a moment-I’ll hide, I’ll hide!
And, Lovell, be sure thou’rt first to trace
The clew to my secret lurking place.”
– Thomas Haynes Bayly, ‘The Mistletoe Bough’

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