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New!7th November 2019 - Wallington Garden - Northumberland
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Wallington Garden near Cambo in Northumberland
Fungi at Wallington Garden, a National Trust property in Northumberland
A lakeside walk to Wallington's walled garden
Autumn colours at Wallington Garden, 12 miles from Morpeth in Northumberland

Wallington is a National Trust owned country house and gardens located near the village of Cambo and about 12 miles from Morpeth in Northumberland. Wallington was bought in 1688 by Sir William Blackett, a wealthy Newcastle family of mine owners and shipping magnates. They purchased Wallington as a country retreat from the family's main home at Anderson Place in Newcastle. It is said that Sir William's son and heir employed six men simply to carry him and his drunken guests to bed after their grand parties. When the son died, he left debts of £77,000 and an illegitimate daughter, Elizabeth Ord. Wallington then passed to his nephew Walter Calverley on condition that Walter married the illegitimate Elizabeth and adopted the Blackett family name. Sir Walter Calverley Blackett had the house and gardens completely redesigned. The noted landscape gardener Lancelot 'Capability' Brown, born just two miles away from Wallington and educated at Cambo School, was involved in the recreation of Wallington. The estate and farms were donated to the National Trust in 1942. There are 100 acres of rolling parkland, ornamental lakes, lawns, and a recently refurbished walled garden.


New!16th September 2019 - The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland
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Lindisfarne Castle - the Holy Island of Lindisfarne
The Gertrude Jekyll Garden and Lindisfarne Castle
Lindisfarne Boat Sheds and Lindisfarne Castle
St. Cuthbert's Island viewed from Lindisfarne

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is off the coast of Northumberland, mid way between Bamburgh and Berwick-upon-Tweed and about 60 miles up the coast from Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The island is 2.7 miles long by 1.3 miles wide. For 2 or 3 hours either side of high tide the causeway that links the island to the mainland is submerged beneath the North Sea and, if you are fortunate to be on the island during high tide, as we were, this enchanting island is almost your own! Lindisfarne, to give it its shorter name, is steeped in history, with a monastery founded by St. Aidan that dates back to AD635. It also has a 12th century Priory that was, in Anglo Saxon times, the epicentre of Christianity as well as being the home of St Oswald. Lindisfarne is also known as Holy Island. It remains a place of pilgrimage today and is the final destination of one of Scotland’s great walking trails, the St. Cuthbert’s Way.


Picture 1 - Lindisfarne Castle is located on Beblowe Crag, the highest point on the island. This part of Northumberland was once a very volatile border area between England and Scotland and in addition it was frequently attacked by Vikings. The castle first appeared in about 1550, around the time that Lindisfarne Priory went out of use and stones from the priory were used as building material. For the next three hundred years, the fort (as it was known then) was home to temporary garrisons of soldiers on detachment from the larger force based at nearby Berwick. The castle, garden and nearby lime kilns have been in the care of the National Trust since 1944 and are open to visitors.
Picture 2 - The walled garden (now known as Gertrude Jekyll's Garden) was first constructed here by troops manning Lindisfarne Castle, maybe as far back as the 1500s or 1600s with the aim of growing vegetables to supplement their diet. In 1902 the Country Life magazine founder and owner Edward Hudson took out a lease from the Crown on Lindisfarne Castle and commissioned his friend, the architect Edwin Lutyens, to transform a Tudor artillery fort into a holiday home in which Hudson could entertain during his summer visits. In 1911 Hudson decided to restore the old walled garden to use as a place to enjoy. Lutyens brought in his regular collaborator, Gertrude Jekyll to undertake the design work. The garden later fell into disuse, but in 2003 it was restored to Gertrude Jekyll's original design by the National Trust.
Picture 3 - Lindisfarne boat sheds are made from upside down fishing boats, a tradition that goes back to the early 1900s. The fishermen created storage sheds for their nets and other equipment by turning over their old herring boats. These were once common a common sight in the north east of England but Lindisfarne is one of the few places where these sheds still survive. Many of the boats are covered in tar to make them waterproof. Two of the three sheds on the castle grounds were burnt down in 2005 but were soon rebuilt by the National Trust and are open to the public.
Picture 4 - The view of St. Cuthbert's Island (formerly called Hobthrush Island) from Lindisfarne. It is connected to Lindisfarne at low tide in the same way that Lindisfarne is connected to the mainland. You can walk across to it, although it becomes an island at high tide. It was here, on this island, that St. Cuthbert first attempted to live as a hermit but it was still too close to Lindisfarne. He moved to Inner Farne for solitude, where he lived for 12 years and died. Inner Farne is now a National Trust protected island and is home to breeding puffins, guillemots, Arctic terns and many other species of sea birds.


New!12th August 2019 - Cumbria
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The ruins of Frith Hall, viewed from Long Garth Farm, Broughton-in-Furness, Cumbria
Tarn Hows, Lake District National Park, Cumbria
Sizergh Castle Gardens, Cumbria
Windermere viewed from the Brockhole Visitor Centre, Cumbria

Cumbria is a generally rural area in north west England. The county came into existence in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972. Its county town is Carlisle and the only other major urban area in Cumbria is Barrow-in-Furness, once a significant producer of naval vessels. Barrow-in-Furness has built all but three of the Royal Navy's nuclear submarines, including the latest class of fleet submarines, currently under construction by BAE Systems Submarine Solutions at Barrow's Devonshire Dock Hall.
Cumbria is the third largest county in England by area, yet is one of the most sparsely populated counties in the United Kingdom.
The county contains the Lake District National Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Lake District is considered one of England's finest areas of natural beauty and has served as an inspiration for artists, writers, and musicians. A large area of the county is within the Yorkshire Dales National Park and also fringes the North Pennines, an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB). Much of Cumbria is mountainous. Scafell Pike, the highest point of England is within the county and is 3,209 feet (978 m) high.


Picture 1 - is the view from the garden at Long Garth Farm, near Broughton-in-Furness, our holiday cottage for the week. With views like that from your garden, you would be quite happy to sit and admire the scenery but .... we had photography and exploration as our missions, so we could not linger too long! The building in the middle distance is the ruins of Frith Hall, built in the 1600s. It was once used as a lodge for deer hunting in the Ulpha woods and was later converted to a hostelry for pack horse teams and drivers. Footpaths (often difficult to locate and traverse) lead to the ruins, with views over the Duddon valley.
Picture 2 -Tarn Hows is one of the most visited spots in Lakeland and the car park soon gets full at high season. Car parking is free for National Trust members. The approach roads are narrow but the final views make it worth the effort, with stunning vistas towards Wetherlam, the Helvellyn range and the Langdale Pikes. The tarn is partly artificial, being three tarns joined together in the 19th Century. Most of the trees surrounding Tarn Hows are conifers. There is a level, 1.5 mile path round the tarn that is suitable for wheelchairs. Beatrix Potter bought the land in 1929. She sold the half containing Tarn Hows to the National Trust and bequeathed the rest of the estate to the Trust in her will.
Picture 3 - Sizergh is a Grade I listed building, 6 miles south of Kendal. It has been the home of the Strickland family for more than 750 years and it remains their home today. Catherine Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII and a relative of the Stricklands, is thought to have lived here after her first husband died in 1533. In 2016 the Sizergh estate was included in the newly extended Lake District National Park. The property is in the care of the National Trust. The large gardens contain the National Trust’s largest limestone rock garden. The garden has elusive hawfinches (best spotted between March and April) and its own beehives. When we visited there were bees everywhere, with five bees visible on the allium plants in the photograph and scores more bees in the kitchen garden.
Picture 4 - The Brockhole Lake District Visitor Centre is situated on the shore of Windermere. At 10.5 miles long, Windermere is England's largest lake. Brockhole is located between the towns of Bowness-on-Windermere and Ambleside. Entrance to the Centre and its grounds is free of charge, although a charge is made for car parking. The site focuses on a number of adventure playgrounds, including boat hire, kayak tours, tree top nets and ropeways, laser clay pigeon shooting, archery and bike hire. For those who prefer more tranquil and much less expensive activities, there are walks in the woodland areas that extend to the shore of Windermere (see picture) and the formal gardens of Brockhole house, built in 1897 are free to visit. The Lake District National Park Authority purchased the property and grounds in 1966, and in 1969 it was opened as the UK's first National Park Visitor Centre.

 


New!27th June 2019 - Dumfries and Galloway
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Clatteringshaws Loch - Dumfries and Galloway
Threave Garden, Castle Douglas - Dumfries and Galloway
The River Cree, Newton Stewart - Dumfries and Galloway
Thistles (village of Parton)  Dumfries and Galloway

Dumfries and Galloway is located in south west Scotland. The area includes the Galloway Forest that extends to three hundred square miles and is famed for mountain biking, walking trails and its abundance of wildlife. There is little light pollution, which led to the country's first Dark Skies Park. Dumfries and Galloway is the mildest region in Scotland, is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has miles of quiet sandy beaches and coastal cliffs.


Picture 1 - Clatteringshaws Loch is located on the eastern fringes of the Galloway Forest Park. It was created in the 1930s for the Galloway hydro-electric scheme but now blends seamlessly into the natural landscape. The Clatteringshaw visitor centre is a haven for waterbirds in summer. On a clear day you can see Merrick, the highest hill in the Southern Uplands. The loch is also one of the best places to enjoy the night sky as the visitor centre overlooks the darkest part of the Forest Park.
Picture 2 - Threave Garden and Estate is located near Castle Douglas and is managed by the National Trust for Scotland. The garden covers 64 acres and is a part of the 1,500 acres Threave Estate that was originally developed by William Gordon, who bought the estate in 1867. The gardens include a walled garden, a rock garden, several ponds and water features. The wider estate is managed as a nature reserve, is home to bats and ospreys and includes part of the Loch Ken and River Dee Marshes Special Protection Area.
Picture 3 - Newton Stewart, located on the Rive Cree is sometimes referred to as the 'Gateway to the Galloway Hills'. The town was founded in the mid 17th century by William Stewart, who was the fourth and youngest son of the 2nd Earl of Galloway. Newton Stewart (New Town of Stewart) was granted burgh status by a charter from King Charles II, allowing a weekly market and two annual fairs to be held.
Picture 4 - The thistle is Scotland's national flower. Legend has it that a sleeping party of Scots warriors were saved from ambush by an invading Norse army when one of the enemies trod on the spiky plant. His cry roused the slumbering warriors who duly vanquished the invader and adopted the thistle as their national symbol. The thistle has been an important symbol of Scottish heraldry for over 500 years. The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle is an order of chivalry which is bestowed to those who have made an outstanding contribution to the life of Scotland and the greater United Kingdom. James II (James VII of Scotland) established the Order with a statutory foundation under new rules in 1687. The order is second only to the Most Noble Order of the Garter.

 


New!22nd May 2019 - The National Botanic Garden of Wales
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The National Botanic Garden of Wales -  the Great Glasshouse and fountain
Protea plants in the Great Glasshouse
Herbaceous borders (rhododendron - 'Pink Gin')
The Japanese Garden : National Botanic Garden of Wales

Picture 1 - The National Botanic Garden of Wales is located at Llanarthney in the River Tywi valley, Carmarthenshire. The garden houses the world’s largest single-span glasshouse (far distance) at 110 m (360 ft) long by 60 m (200 ft) wide, also the British Bird of Prey Centre, a tropical Butterfly House, play areas and a national nature reserve. The garden is both a visitor attraction and a centre for botanical research and conservation.
Picture 2 - Protea plants in the Great Glasshouse, that was designed by Foster and Partners. The roof contains 785 panes of glass and houses plants from several Mediterranean climate regions, also Chile, Western Australia, South Africa, California and the Canary Islands.
Picture 3 - Herbaceous borders including a rhododendron - variety Pink Gin.
Picture 4 - This Japanese garden is called ‘Sui ou tei’, which refers to the national flowers of Japan and Wales, the cherry blossom and the daffodil. Constructed in 2001, the garden started life as a Show Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, winning a Gold medal and coveted ‘Best in Show’ for its designer, Professor Masao Fukuhara. In 2017 The Japanese Garden Society (JGS) led a restoration programme, part-funded by the Japanese government. Repairs to the building, wall, paths and bamboo fence, extensive pruning and replanting were completed in spring, 2019.
History - The Middleton family from Oswestry built a mansion here in the early 17th century and in 1789 Sir William Paxton bought the estate and created a water park. Paxton was a Scottish-born sailor, a businessman, the Welsh Member of Parliament for Carmarthen and was instrumental in developing Tenby as a seaside resort. By the time of Paxton's death in 1824, Middleton Hall estate covered some 2,650 acres.
Under the guidance of the Welsh Historic Gardens Trust, an application was made to the Millennium Commission to fund Britain’s first national botanic garden for 200 years. The Garden was opened to the public for the first time on 24th May 2000, and was officially opened on 21st July 2000 by Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales.

 


New!20th April 2019 - Spring at Penrhyn Castle - Gwynedd
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Penrhyn Castle and native primroses
Tulips in the upper walled garden at Penrhyn Castle
Gunnera plants in the jungle like bog garden at Penrhyn Castle
Native bluebells - Penrhyn Castle

Penrhyn Castle, in Gwynedd, is a National Trust property in the design of a 19th-century neo-Norman castle. The estate has a very dark history of exploitation as the family had strong connections with the transatlantic slave trade. The 1st Baron Penrhyn (Richard Pennant) made his fortune from slavery in Jamaica and from the local Welsh slate quarries. Pennant owned one of the greatest estates on the island of Jamaica, with six sugar plantations. As the estate grew, so did the numbers of enslaved people. Unsurprisingly, Pennant was a staunch anti-abolitionist (!) and he sat in the House of Commons between 1761 and 1790. By 1805 he owned nearly 1000 enslaved people across his plantations. Penrhyn was originally a medieval fortified manor house, founded by Ednyfed Fychan but the present building was created between about 1822 and 1837. In 1951 the castle and 40,000 acres of land were accepted by the treasury in lieu of death duties. Penrhyn has a formal walled garden, extensive informal gardens, an adventure playground, picnic areas, a narrow gauge railway museum, woodland walks and one of the finest art collections in Wales. Picture 1 - The approach driveway to Penrhyn Castle with its wild primroses (primula vulgaris). The name derives from the Latin prima rosa meaning 'first rose' of the year, despite not being a member of the rose family. The primrose is my favourite flower and was also the favourite of former Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. Primrose Day is on 19th April, the anniversary of Disraeli's death.| Picture 2 - Tulips on the top terrace of the Victorian walled garden. Tulips are the third most popular flowers world-wide, next only to the rose and chrysanthemum. | Picture 3 - Gunnera plants, commonly thought of as 'giant rhubarb' in the jungle like, lower bog garden, which is part of Penrhyn's walled garden | Picture 4 - Native bluebells : The UK's native bluebells are generally deep violet-blue, have a strong, sweet scent, with the drooping flowers mostly on one side of the stem. More than a quarter of the world's bluebells are found in the UK. Sadly, our native bluebell is losing ground to the more vigorous Spanish bluebell, which was introduced by the Victorians.


New!11th March 2019 - Tyne & Wear
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Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens
Roker Beach Marina, Sunderland
The Penshaw Monument (The Earl of Durham's Monument)
Souter Lighthouse (Marsden : South Shields)

Picture 1 - Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens contain over 2,000 flowers and plants, the only known British example of a gliding reptile and the first Nissan car to be made in Sunderland. In 2003 the Museum was recognised as the most attended outside London. The artist L.S. Lowry 'discovered' Sunderland in 1960, after which it became his second home. Sunderland Museum has 6 of Lowry's works and 30 on long-term loan, a collection surpassed only by Salford and Manchester. | Picture 2 -Roker is a tourist resort and affluent area of Sunderland and is administered as part of the City of Sunderland. The marina at Roker is known as Sunderland Marina, is situated on the north east coast at the mouth of the River Wear and offers sailors immediate access to the open sea at all states of tide. The Marina consists of 132 pontoon moorings and 95 fore and aft moorings. In addition to Seaburn seafront, the coast at Roker seafront plays host to Sunderland International Airshow, the biggest free airshow in Europe, which takes place each year, usually over the last weekend in July. | Picture 3 - The Penshaw Monument (officially The Earl of Durham's Monument) is at Houghton le Spring, Sunderland. It is dedicated to John George Lambton (1792–1840) who was the 1st Earl of Durham and the first Governor of the Province of Canada. The foundation stone was laid on 28th August 1844. The monument was acquired by the National Trust as a gift from the 5th Earl of Durham in 1939 and features on the club badge of Sunderland Football Club.| Picture 4 - Souter Lighthouse, opened in 1871, is in the village of Marsden - South Shields. Souter was the first lighthouse in the world to be actually designed and built specifically to use alternating electric current, the most advanced lighthouse technology of its day. The lighthouse is located on Lizard Point, but takes its name from Souter Point, which is a mile to the south. The name was retained in order to avoid confusion with the then recently-built Lizard Lighthouse in Cornwall. Souter was never automated and was decommissioned in 1988. It retains much in its original equipment, is now owned by the National Trust and is open to the public.


11th February 2019 - A winter walk round Cowm Reservoir, Whitworth
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Cowm Reservoir, Whitworth, Rossendale in the South Pennines
Nursery rhyme ".... two little ducks went swimming one day ... " Cowm Reservoir, Whitworth
A duck watching sheepdog at Cowm Reservoir, Whitworth
First signs of spring - Catkins at Cowm Reservoir, Whitworth

The four photographs were taken at Cowm Reservoir, Whitworth (our home town) in the South Pennines, Rossendale. Cowm reservoir was heavily polluted in the early 1970s from a tyre fire, which effectively terminated its use as a supply of drinking water for the area and it is now used as a water ski academy. There is a well surfaced, easy walk round the reservoir. If you prefer a more strenuous walk, a bridle path at the far end of the reservoir takes you over the hills (with extensive views of the surrounding area) and leads to Hallfold. From here you can extend your walk to Healey Dell Nature Reserve.

Mountain bike magazines class the South Pennines as having some of the best riding in the country. Rossendale also has more public footpaths within its boundary than any other town or borough in the country. For energetic walkers the 47 mile long Rossendale Way crosses over the summit of Whitworth's Brown Wardle Hill. Healey Dell Nature Reserve is at the southern edge of Whitworth. The former single track railway that runs through the valley is long gone but in its place is an easy going walk through the Reserve. Watergrove Reservoir and Hollingworth Lake Country Park are both close by and are developing as wildlife refuges.

In November 2018 discussions took place as to whether the South Pennines should become England’s first regional park. A regional park is "an area of land preserved on account of its natural beauty, historic interest, recreational use or other reason, and under the administration of a form of local government." The South Pennines were put forward as a potential national park as long ago as the 1940s, but were turned down because with its then still-working mills it was considered too industrial compared with places such as the Lake District. The South Pennines is now the only extensive English uplands not to have its beauty and character formally recognised.


11th January 2019 - Lakeland Winter
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Ennerdale Water - Cumbria
Wastwater-  Cumbria
Windermere - Wray Castle, Cumbria
Tarn Hows - Cumbria

Picture 1 - Ennerdale Water is the most westerly of the lakes, and is very remote. Even in peak season, Ennerdale is a place to escape from the crowds, as it is the only lake that does not have a road running alongside it. Much of the shoreline and some of the surrounding fells are owned by the National Trust. | Picture 2 - Wastwater in Wasdale, is one of my favourite locations. On 9th September 2007 Wast Water was voted the best view in the UK in the ITV programme 'Britain's Favourite View', beating 15 other nominated locations. Wasdale Head is the starting point for climbers attempting to climb Great Gable, Scafell Pike, Pillar, Kirkfell, Lingmell and other mountains in the area. | Picture 3 - Windermere, from Wray Castle. At ten and a half miles long, Windermere is England's largest lake. Wray Castle is a Victorian neo-gothic building whose house and grounds have belonged to the National Trust since 1929 | Picture 4 - Tarn Hows is one of the most visited spots in Lakeland and can become overcrowded in summer. Lovely and quiet though out of season, on a day such as when this photograph was taken! The tarn is partly artificial, being three tarns joined together in the 19th Century. The views of the Helvellyn range and the Langdale Pikes are outstanding. There is a 1.5 mile level, easy walking path round the tarn.


8th December 2018 - Christmas Wallpaper
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Gordon Rigg Garden Centre - Walsden, West Yorkshire
The Apothecary, Haworth - West Yorkshire
Selby Abbey - North Yorkshire
Howden Minster - East Riding of Yorkshire

Picture 1 - Waiting for Father Christmas at the Gordon Rigg Garden Centre in Walsden, Todmorden - West Yorkshire. Gordon Rigg's is one of the largest Garden Centres in the North West of England. It was voted best Garden Centre in the North and 2nd best in the UK by Which? Magazine! | Picture 2 - The apothecary window display at Haworth, in West Yorkshire. Haworth's main claim to fame is its association with the literary Brontë sisters - Anne, Charlotte and Emily. The apothecary is where their brother Branwell, who was a creative writer and painter, bought his opium. Branwell was an alcoholic and an opium addict, addictions that ultimately led to his death at the age of 31. | Picture 3 - The Nativity at Selby Abbey in North Yorkshire. Selby is one of the relatively few surviving abbey churches of the medieval period and is one of the biggest. It is dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin and St. Germain. St. Germain was the bishop of Paris and a saint of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church. According to an early biography, he was known as Germain d'Autun - the 'Father of the Poor'. | Picture 4 - Howden Minster is also known as the Minster Church of St. Peter and St. Paul and is located in the East Riding of Yorkshire. There has been a church at Howden since Anglo-Saxon times. The Church of England Minster and Chapter House are Grade I listed (1966). The Great West Window (see picture) contains two scenes of 19th century glass by the Belgian glazier, Jean-Baptiste Capronnier and may have been inspired by windows in Cologne cathedral.


28th November 2018 - Norfolk
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Horsey Windpump - Norfolk
Duke of Wellington Statue at Norwich Cathedral
Happisburgh Lighthouse
Wroxham - Norfolk

Picture 1 - Horsey Windpump was used for land drainage. It is a Grade II listed building, located in the village of Horsey, near Great Yarmouth in Norfolk. The present structure was built in 1912 on the foundations of the 18th-century Horsey Black Mill. It was acquired by the National Trust in 1948 from the Buxton Family. | Picture 2 - The statue of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, outside Norwich Cathedral in Norfolk. Wellington was the British supreme commander during the Napoleonic Wars and became famous thanks to his victory in the Battle of Waterloo. Norwich Cathedral has the second largest cloisters in England, only exceeded by those at Salisbury Cathedral. The cathedral spire is the second-tallest in England, again, exceeded by Salisbury. | Picture 3 - Happisburgh Lighthouse, on the North Norfolk coast is the only independently operated lighthouse in Great Britain (after receiving the Royal Assent as a Local Light Authority on 25th April 1990). It is also the oldest working lighthouse in East Anglia. Happisburgh Lighthouse was constructed in 1790, and is 85ft (26m) high. The lighthouse was electrified in 1947 and has a range of 14 nautical miles. | Picture 4 - The busy village of Wroxham is located within the Norfolk Broads. It's often called "the Capital of the Broads" and Wroxham Bridge is considered to be the second most difficult on the Broads to navigate (after Potter Heigham). A pilot station is located on the Hoveton side of the river, ready to assist boaters, for a fee.

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About Beautiful Britain

The Beautiful Britain website has been a hobby since 2001. That makes it almost as old as Google! BB does not generate any revenue and no longer creates links to commercial websites. The pictures are all from our many short break holidays here in Britain.

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