Thursday, 26 June 2014

Barrington Park and Bourton-On-The-Water

On Sunday, it was a beautiful hot sunny day, so my older sister and I decided to pay a visit to Bourton-on-the-Water to enjoy the sunshine. Living about twenty miles away, we've been many times before, although it had been a few years since my last visit.

Bourton is about a half hour drive from where we live, and the journey takes us through the picturesque Cotswolds countryside and some very pretty little villages. We set off on our leisurely journey just before midday, and at a fork in the road a few miles from home, we decided to explore a road we'd never taken before, knowing somewhere along the line it was bound to take us where we needed to go. The thing about country roads in the Cotswolds is that you never know where they might take you or what you might find, but you're pretty much guaranteed they'll lead you somewhere good. 

Sure enough, our little detour led us our best discovery yet; a large herd of deer, out in the middle of nowhere! We were both so excited to see a field full of deer, that we pulled over and got out of the car for a closer look with our cameras in hand.

Some immediately galloped away out of sight, but the rest watched us cautiously from a distance. We didn't want to stress them out too much so we only stayed for a minute or two, but they were beautiful and we even saw two bucks rutting.

I haven't seen a herd of deer (outside of zoos) since I was a little girl, and it's been a while since I last saw just one, so seeing thirty of them together was really exciting. Call me sad, but it really made my day! 

Come with me, I shall show you the ways of the forest...

As it was so bright and sunny, I really couldn't see what I was snapping, so I was stoked to see this beauty when I came to edit my photos. He had the biggest antlers of the group, and stood watching us the entire time. I love this photo, although I'm gutted with the quality of them all; it was only when I got home I realised my camera had been on the 'glass' setting the entire day, instead of auto like I thought it was. The camera thought everything was behind glass, which is why the countryside looks hazy and grainy instead of lush green and blue skies like it really was. Fail.

The deer were in an enclosed field which had an ornate black and gold metal gate further along to the left of these photos, which made us think this was a deer park, or a herd being raised for meat, especially as they appeared to be an all-male herd. I later discovered, after a bit of Googling, that the place was called Barrington Park, which apparently has an 18th century manor house, and a deer park that dates back to the 17th century set on 120 hectares of land. I'd never even heard of the place before, but our random drive paid off!

There was also a stone hut in the field, and we thought it might be an observatory or some kind of WW2 shelter, but it turns out it's a folly, which is just an ornamental building with no real purpose. I've never seen anything like it before, especially not in a field in the middle of nowhere.

As the deer drifted away from us, we got back in the car and continued on our way. We soon arrived at Bourton-on-the-Water, which is the most quintessential Cotswolds town in the land. 

A shallow river runs through the centre of the town (village?), which has several bridges running across it, and grassy banks and benches on either side where people can sit, enjoy the view, and while away the hours. There are trees everywhere which makes it looks even more picturesque, and there are no shortage of tea rooms, cafes, ice cream vendors, and gift shops to enjoy. It couldn't be more Cotswolds if it tried!

As it's such a pretty place when the sun is shining, the place was swarming with people on Sunday. There were literally thousands of people milling around, which would usually be a stressful environment, but the atmosphere was so calm and laid-back it was actually really nice to be a part of it. (Even if it did make it difficult to take photos). 

We grabbed an ice cream, and sat down by the river. I even slipped my feet in to the shallow water, but soon regretted it when I discovered the water was icy cold. I hadn't expected it to be so cold in June, and it was so cold it kept causing my feet to cramp- which they continued to do in to the night... it was so painful!

Still, it was lovely to sit down by the river to enjoy the sunshine and take in the atmosphere. There were people and dogs wading in the water; kids splashing about; people sunbathing; others reading, picnicking, and chatting... it was like the country equivalent of a day at the beach! The skies were bright blue, and it was extremely hot, and it really couldn't have been a nicer day. I'd have loved to have sat there all day with a good book, but the back pain only allowed me ten or fifteen minutes before I had to admit defeat and move on.

More Observations in Bourton

♥ Mallard ducks in the river trying to swim away from wading kids.
♥ A little girl who lost the ice cream off her ice cream cone... and her Dad didn't go get her another one. Mean Dad!
♥ People sitting in beer gardens and outside tea rooms and cafes enjoying the sunshine.
♥ A waffle house I'd like to try food from one day.
♥ Japanese tourists protecting themselves from the hot sun with umbrellas and parasols.
♥ A Christmas shop full of pretty Christmas decorations... in June!
♥ An assortment of cute dogs in various shapes and sizes.
♥ A couple of retro ice cream trucks.
♥ A little boy of 5 or 6 taking the hand of a little girl of about 4 to help her wade through the river. He also made friends with my sister while we were sat on the bank.

We walked to the end of the river, and then headed back along the other side, and popped in to a couple of gifts shops along the way. I didn't buy anything. In fact, my only purchase was an ice cream while I was there. You don't need to spend any money to enjoy Bourton-on-the-Water, that is if pretty riverside country towns are your cup of tea. Just grab a blanket, a picnic, a book and head to the river! That's your lazy Sunday afternoon sorted!

Bourton-on-the-Water is also famously the home of Brum, the little yellow car from the nineties children's TV show of the same name. If you remember Brum, your childhood was awesome! I think he lives in the car museum at the far end of the river, although I've never been because car museums aren't my thing.I'd much rather visit the bird gardens (a small zoo with all kinds of birds in it), or explore the maze and act like a big kid!

When we got back to the car I was sore and absolutely frazzled from the heat. We got ourselves a cold drink and fresh peaches, and then took a different new route home, which took us past a couple of poppy fields, and an assortment of weird and wonderful sights.

Sunday's Observations From the Car

♥ A village fete complete with bunting.
♥ A cricket match played by grown men in proper cricket attire on a village sports pitch.
♥ A sculpture exhibition held in a field.
♥ Plenty of red phone boxes.
♥ A horse and cart.
♥ Two horses with young riders being led by adults down a country road.
♥ A red kite circling low in the sky, on the hunt for dinner.
♥ A couple of fields filled with red poppies.
♥ A retro white American car which looked very fifties.
♥ Classic cars and sports cars taken out on Sunday drives.
♥ A guy whose (half mullet half Mohawk) haircut and outfit made him look like he'd stumbled out of an eighties movie... he would've played a bad guy.
♥ Countless beautiful Cotswold stone houses, thatched cottages, and dry stone walls out in the country.
♥ A road sign for a place called 'Douglas'.
♥ Flower beds planted in the shape of the Union Jack.

I really enjoyed escaping the cabin fever for a few hours to enjoy the beautiful sunny day, catch up with my sister, and explore a few pretty places close to home. Four days later I haven't quite recovered from the extra pain the day cost me, but it was worth it just to see the herd of deer.

I wonder where the next random drive will take me! I can't wait to find out!

Have you visited anywhere great recently?

What's the best thing you ever discovered on your travels?



  1. What amazing photos! I'd love to see a big group of deer like that. The Cotswolds look glorious too. x x

  2. The photo's of the deer are so beautiful they almost look like paintings! how gorgeous! people watching is great, I love the little sweet interactions like the little boy and girl in the water and I would have squealed with delight over the 50's car - I always give a thumbs up to cool cars and motorbikes! x x x

  3. I have vague memories of a visit with my grandparents and sisters to Bourton before. There was some kind of village or church fete on and I bought some books which I've read loads. I also remember playing in the water.
    And I totally loved Brum!

  4. It sounds like you had a wonderful time and the deer pictures are amazing. I remember brum too! Xx


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