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Published: August 7th 2018
With the weather forecast brilliant again today we headed off over the Howden Moors in the Peak District National Park towards Brodsworth, near Doncaster. Bernie has paired his phone with the SatNav in the Golf using Apple CarPlay so we’ve got the navigation sorted. Thank goodness Siri is telling him where to go and not me. I don’t know why, but he is so much more patient with Siri than he is with me!
We were directed onto the A628 towards Tintwistle. Actually, Siri and the road signs said to follow the route towards Sheffield, I just wanted to record that we passed through Tintwistle! There is a series of reservoirs in the valley alongside the A628 and we could not believe how low the water is. We have never seen any English reservoirs so low before. It’s no wonder they are talking about water restrictions being brought in.
On the easternmost border of the national park we turned onto the A616 and then onto the A61. It was all going beautifully until we reached the Cross Keys Roundabout near the M1. ‘Bear left’ said Siri, so Bernie did and we found ourselves heading into Birdwell rather than onto
the A6195. There was a conveniently located Aldi supermarket so Bernie was able to execute a U-turn in its carpark and return to the roundabout where he made a left turn onto the Dearne Parkway (A6195).
We think designating the A6195 a ‘parkway’ is somewhat misleading. Yes, the speed limit is 70mph BUT with a roundabout every mile (or so) we were only just reaching 70mph when it was time to brake to navigate around ANOTHER roundabout! I guess what we learnt is that ‘parkway’ is not synonymous with ‘motorway’.
We continued on the Dearne Valley Parkway (now the A635) until we were directed onto the B roads towards Brodsworth. Siri announced that we had reached our destination when quite clearly we hadn’t. Fortunately Bernie had read on the Brodsworth Hall website that there is a known satellite navigation problem when trying to reach the hall. It seems it’s such a problem that there were very permanent looking signs up telling visitors for Brodsworth Hall to continue in the direction of the arrow and take a right at the next crossroad.
Sure enough, a right turn at the crossroads and a short drive up Church Lane had
us driving into the public car park at Brodsworth Hall. After a short wait at the ticket office/gift shop we asked to purchase an English Heritage 16 day Overseas Visitor Pass (for two people) having established that we can fit enough English Heritage properties into the next 16 days to make this a very economical option. The staff member who served us has only been at Brodsworth Hall for a couple of months and had not been asked for an OVP before. Her longer serving colleague stepped in and processed our pass for us. Straight away we recouped £12.50 (each) on our £67.00 investment.
We booked in to join the tour of a selection of the ground floor rooms at 12 noon. Our guide, Reg, told us that Brodsworth Hall was built in the 18th century by Charles Sabine Augustus Thellusson who inherited the estate from his great-grandfather Peter Thellusson. He demolished an earlier Georgian house and constructed a Victorian country house in the Italianate style. This house was lived in by succeeding generations until 1990 when it was purchased by EH. After five years of conservation work EH opened the hall to the public in 1995.
this introduction Reg guided us from the grand entry hall through the inner hall to the dining room. This was followed by the billiard room, the south hall, the drawing room, the library and the kitchen, scullery and still room. Reg also explained the delicate process of conserving the property much as it was handed over to them. They have not tried to recreate the house’s 17th century splendour, they have tried to conserve a Victorian property that was lived in as a family home until late in the 20th century. It was interesting to learn how families who inherited stately homes incorporated mod cons like electricity while trying to maintain and run these huge houses ... without the hired help and often without the financial resources that their forebears enjoyed!
At the conclusion of the tour we took a lunch break and then went back into the house to re-trace our steps from the tour, but this time around took some photos. We were also able to see a couple of ground floor rooms that were not included on the tour and the publicly accessible rooms on the first floor. Despite the changing fortunes of the family and
occupation of the house during both wars by military personnel an incredible amount of history has been preserved.
After the house we still had the gardens to explore and it was an absolutely beautiful day for a stroll around the gardens! There were very handsome Greyhound statues flanking each set of steps from the patio onto the surrounding lawns. The family coat of arms featured a Greyhound rampant hence the multitude of Greyhound statues. We sent a photo to Kerry using SMS because she doesn’t read the blog.
The parterre garden was colourful and the summer house was quaint. The summer house was actually built around the same time as the Georgian house and survived its demolition to be retained as a focal point/folly for the new house. By the time we had ventured into the fern grotto and returned to the front of the house to look at the statue walk our vitamin D levels were well stocked up and it was time to head home.
We returned home the way we had travelled earlier in the day and, would you believe it, Siri confused things at the Cross Keys Roundabout again. ‘Bear right’ Siri said
and we did and blow me if we didn’t have the Birdwell Aldi in our sights again!! Damn Siri, we think what you really ought to have said was ‘stay in the centre lanes’. Oh well, since we were at the Aldi and had told Kath we would pick up a couple of things on our way home, we shopped in Birdwell which saved us going down into Stalybridge.
Tonight Colin and Lucy joined us for cards. With six people playing it was a good night to win the pot at the end of a game of Jo. And the winner was ... me! Everyone reluctantly agreed to a game of blobs to follow. At least the pain doesn’t last as long with six people playing! Despite claiming to hate the game, Lucy was victorious.
Steps: 9,997 (Damn, three steps short!)
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