Fun Ride 2019
Our ever popular Fun Ride was held once again – this time on 29th September. Lord Willoughby de Broke, our former President, kindly agreed to allow the Warwickshire horse riding community to gallop, canter, trot, or plod across his farm, around a specially designed course set up by Sue Cook and Verena Telling. The ride was through some of south Warwickshire’s loveliest countryside, not normally open to the public.
Visits to Winterbourne House and Kiftsgate Court Garden
We organised two social ‘get togethers’ for members this summer.
The first in June was to Winterbourne House, one of the last surviving examples of an Edwardian Arts and Crafts suburban villa and garden in Birmingham. The garden was lovingly created by the homeowners, Margaret and John Nettlefold, the industrialist of GKN fame. They used the books of Gertrude Jekyll as their inspiration.
The garden was extended and developed by a subsequent owner, John Nicolson. An avid gardener he bought such features as the Japanese bridge and scree garden to Winterbourne, adding to the botanical garden with its plants from all over the world. One exciting feature pointed out to us by our guide Leanne, was the carnivorous glasshouse, containing dozens of mainly fly and bug eating plants! The restored wall garden complete with crinkle crankle wall was a riot of rainbow shades and the woodland walk beyond the original sandstone rock garden through gunnera and rhododendrons was shady delight.
We had lunch in the old potting shed before been given free rein around the house. Designed to be cutting edge with all modern conveniences such as electric lighting and hot running water, the rooms were light and airy many with views over the gardens. Whilst little was known of how the interiors might have looked in the Nettlefold’s day, I think the consensus of our party was that the University of Birmingham (the current owners) had done an excellent job recreating a period feel, with William Morris print wallpapers and furnishings from the early 1920s.
Our July visit was to Kiftsgate Court gardens. And how lucky it was we beat Monty Don and the BBC’s Gardeners World team to it, because I went back the other day and it was packed.
Created by Heather Muir in the 1920s and carried on by two women gardeners, Diany Binny and now Anne Chamber, Kiftsgate is a wonderful example of a garden with a distinctive feminine feel: a garden that has developed organically rather than everything planned.
We were lucky to be given a short talk by the present owner explaining a little about the garden and its history. We numbered thirty four and most went on an impromptu guided tour with Christabel Watson (and huge thanks to Christabel for undertaking this role which was hugely enjoyed by this majority who followed her) while others just wandered through the various gardens within the garden – the wild garden, the four square and terrace, the wide border, the white sunk garden, the water garden..... . The eponymous rose was out, enveloping three trees – a wonderful sight of white flowers cascading to the ground.
Lunch was waiting for us, well deserved by those who had ventured to the lower garden via the steep bank.
Our plans for 2020 have yet to be finalised, so if you have a suggestion of a garden, a house or any place that you think might be of interest to fellow members, do please let us know.
We held our 56th Annual General Meeting at the Hill Close Gardens in Warwick this year on Tuesday 28th May starting at 6.00pm. Much earlier this year than usual but it allowed us to have a walk around the gardens after the business is complete.
Hill Close Gardens is a group of 18 surviving Victorian detached gardens on a hillside in Warwick. These were set up in the 19th century overlooking Warwick Racecourse to provide gardens for owners of townhouses which did not have their own gardens.
Our guest speaker this year was Dr Andrea Graham, Head of Policy Services of the National Farmers’ Union and she will spoke about the future of farming and food. Her presentation was warmly welcomed and there were many questions to elicit more detail.
Light refreshments and drinks wereserved after the meeting
“GREEN CLEAN” litter pick
CPRE Warwickshire joined with Rubbish Friends to help out with the national “GREEN CLEAN” litter pick. Throughout September, across the country CPRE branches are took part in the National Charity’s “Green Clean” litter picking project. The objectives are to help clean up England’s countryside and green spaces and record details on what’s littered to help influence solutions for the litter crisis – particularly evidence to support the deposit scheme for bottles and cans.
CPRE Warwickshire agreed to participate but our resources or lack of them has meant we have linked up with the charity that is dedicated to litter pick – “Rubbish Friends”. They have a tremendous record and a growing team of supporters (for instance their Stratford team have picked over 1000 bags of rubbish this year alone!) and rather than try and replicate what they do, we asked them for their help with the project and they kindly agreed to do so.
We joined the Stratford group on their August litter pick on what must have been one of the worst weather days this summer, but still about twenty volunteers came out and we picked about twenty bags of litter, ten to be recycled and ten of general waste.
The September litter pick coincided with our major fund raising FunRide day on Sunday 30th, so we were not be able to support them this month, but Rubbish Friends undertook the recording of types of bottle/can required so we will be able to submit data to National CPRE.
CPRE National arranged for the ‘Reverse Vending Machine’ to be present so there is money to be made! We think it is ten pence for every item.