Ever since the Eden Project opened my wife has been wanting to visit. So, recognising that however great the Yorkshire Wolds are, sometimes there are other parts of the country to see we decided to make a whistle stop tour to the South West to see this "wonder of the world" as it's sometimes described.
Village green (England's longest) - Frampton on Severn
We had from Saturday lunchtime until Tuesday evening to do the visit and decided that we should break the journey in to manageable stages. Recognising the environmental impact of our long driving journey all our accommodation selected was to be organic and have decent environmental credentials. My wife was in charge of accommodation booking and choosing the locations. We set off at about one on Saturday and as we drove to the south west I was given clues as to where the location of our first night's stop was to be. I didn't get the name of the place but after many clues did guess that the place where we were to stay has the longest village green in England. That place is Frampton on Severn and the green runs to some 22 acres in total. The area around the green is a conservation area with some fine houses including Frampton Court and is well worth a visit if you should happen to pass-by or need somewhere to break up your journey like we did.
Evening sun - Gloucester and Sharpness Canal
Arriving earlier than planned we decided that we should try and take in a little of the surrounding countryside. Between the village and the River Severn is the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal and we followed the towpath along this substantial canal. The walk was pleasant with river traffic to watch and views across what once would have been marshes to the river and beyond. We turned back after a mile or so but had we had the time just a bit further up the towpath is the famous Wildfowl Wetlands Trust site at Slimbridge.
We turned back as time was getting on and day was fast turning to evening and we needed to get to our accomodation for the night. The place chosen was the True Heart Guest House - www.thetrueheart.co.uk. The name wasn't chosen because it had been set up as some special venue for young lovers to have their trysts but as it was the name of the pub that this house was converted from in the 1960's. Also fitting in with our plan to be as green as possible the property is featured in "Alistair Sawday's "Special Places to Stay: Green Europe"".
The True Heart is a smart whitewashed double fronted house with a small parking area and garden to the front. Veronica our host showed us to our room and separate private bathroom. Our room was a twin and needed to accommodate two separate beds but had we been staying for anything more than one night it would have been a little on the small side for me with no real room to stretch out. We were staying in a room at the front of the house and had no real view other than the front garden. The room and bathroom were impeccably clean and we soon decided to freshen up and go see what food the local pub had available. We decided with our hosts help that we would try the Bell.
Frampton on Severn
The Bell stands at the very end of the one end of the green and with us staying on a quiet road beyond the other end we took a pleasant stroll past many of the period properties standing along the edge of the green. I can confirm that having walked up and down the green it is long. The pub was packed and we had no chance of getting a table in the restaurant area; we would have to take our chances in the bar. The local football team had just arrived and whether they were celebrating a famous victory or drowning their sorrows I shall never know but the volume of the good natured banter was high. We managed to find a table amongst the crowd. Not ideal but we were pushing our luck on a Saturday night. to find anywhere to eat that wasn't already full. Volume aside I enjoyed a couple of pints of a local bitter and a good Steak and Ale Pie with my wife having a good plate of stuffed peppers.
After the meal we wandered back along the darkened green to the guest house as street lights are not a major feature in Frampton on Severn. In the morning breakfast was served in a small dining room at a single table with the other guests, who, it turned out were from Yorkshire too. The breakfast was good with high quality local produce clearly featuring and our host was attentive to our needs. We packed and left straight after breakfast as we were eager to start part two of our journey. The True Heart and Frampton on Severn had been good choices for a stopping off point. I left there wondering whether my wife had chosen as well for the second night. To be continued........