We were expecting a cloudy start to the day and were delighted to wake to blue skies and an absolutely glorious deep orange glow as the early sun reflected the light off the trees. Two hours later it was a very different colour but the camera does neither justice.
We decided to stay put today and make the most of the good weather and explore some of the area on foot. There is a good choice of circular walks from where we’re moored and we headed off westwards along the towpath before turning off at Tixall Bridge and heading north into the village. (If we’d turned eastwards we could have done a circular walk through the grounds of Shugborough Hall.)
A hexagonal obelisk dated 1776 caused us to pause at the T junction in the village and enjoy a landscaped vista that includes a rotunda, originally designed by Capability Brown which was moved here in the 1960’s from its original site at Ingestre, about a mile away.
We followed the road into the village and passed a field of jersey cows. My Dad used to have a herd in the late 1950’s and 60’s and I just love these pretty faced cattle which you don’t see very often.
Mick – did you know that in the village there is an example of a K6 type telephone kiosk, designed in 1935 by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and made in cast iron?
We then passed the impressive Tixhall Gatehouse that once led to Tixhall House. Sadly the house has now gone but the stables are still visible beyond. Tixhall Gatehouse is owned by the Landmark Trust and can be booked for holidays.
A little further on we came to Tixhall Farm. This brick farmhouse and farm-buildings were listed when they were sold for development in the 1980s and have now been converted into apartments. They are a good example of an early 19th or late 18th century purpose-built model farm. Prominent beside the road at the east end is a large and impressive contemporary “Dutch” barn with 5 brick arched openings.
Opposite is Bottle Lodge, a curious octagonal lodge with just one room upstairs and another downstairs. In the 19th century it was used to house the local shepherd with his children sleeping in the farm buildings on the other side of the road. It made our living accommodation seem quite generous.
From here we took the public footpath eastwards towards Great Heywood and we treated ourselves to some locally made ice-cream at the café there and bought a couple of items at the farm shop.
On our ‘swingometer’ of ice-cream quality, these were average as the flavouring was not very strong.