Photos © Ruud Leeuw

Another vacation in England, again we focussed mainly on general history, castles & pubs plus a few aviation items. And this time I had added some birding opportunities as well.
Our plan was basically to drive from Newcastle upon Tyne to Harwich, but not in a straight line...
Read on!

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Our visit to England, 2018
We had a pleasant and uneventful crossing with DFDS Seaways. Around 9 a.m. we sailed up the River Tyne.
The docks were still partly hidden in a quiet morning fog, but that did not last long.
I think I recognised these docks from an epsiode of Vera (ITV tv-series, starring Brenda Blethyn as the principal
charcater, Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope). A good start, I thought.


Egglestone Abbey
Our visit to England, 2018
Our first stop was Egglestone Abbey, a quiet ruin in the country side.
It is an abandoned Premonstratensian Abbey on the southern (Yorkshire) bank of the River Tees, 2.4 km south-east
of Barnard Castle in County Durham.

Our visit to England, 2018

The Abbey was founded in the late 12th century at some point between 1168 and 1198. The founders were the Premonstratensians who wore a white habit and became known as the White Canons. They followed a code of austerity similar to that of Cistercian monks.
They chose the site for the abbey because of its isolation, close proximity to a river and the supply of local stone for its construction.
The abbey was always poor and at times had difficulty maintaining the required number of canons (twelve - from the Twelve Apostles).
Egglestone Abbey was to suffer at the hands of Scottish invaders and the rowdy English army who were billeted there in 1346 on their way to the Battle of Neville's Cross outside Durham.

Our visit to England, 2018
The Abbey was dissolved in 1540 by King Henry VIII; the lands were granted to Robert Strelly in 1548, who
converted some of the buildings into a great private house that was abandoned in the mid-19th century.

Our visit to England, 2018


Our visit to England, 2018
The main visit this first day was Harewood House; it had been on the wishlist before, but this time the pieces
fell in place. I wasn't so much interested in the interior (an expensive ticket), but after a nice lunch we
each went our seperate ways and I explored the sculptured garden and grounds.

Our visit to England, 2018
This photo shows a tiny speck approaching and the bird of prey was soon upon us. A fine greeting.

Our visit to England, 2018

Harewood House is a country house in Harewood near Leeds, West Yorkshire.
It was built between 1759 and 1771 for wealthy plantation owner Edwin Lascelles, 1st Baron Harewood.
The landscape was designed by the famous Lancelot 'Capability' Brown and spans 1.000 acres (400 ha) at Harewood.
Still home to the Lascelles family, Harewood House is a member of the Treasure Houses of England, a marketing consortium for ten of the foremost historic homes in the country.
The Lascelles family claim to have arrived in England with William the Conqueror, during the Norman Conquest of England!

The Bird Garden at Harewood House has a small collection of exotic Bird species, of which more than 5 are listed as vulnerable or endangered by the IUCN. It is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA).
Upon my visit quite a few were hidden from sight, no doubt hiding from the heat of the day, but with some patience I did manage to see several.

Our visit to England, 2018
I included the Zebra Finch here for my father kept a selection of these when I was very young.
While not remembering them from sight, I do remember him talking about them. When we moved to a more
urban environment my father had to let go of his bird collection and other pets, except for the cats (3) and dogs (2).

Our visit to England, 2018
The Laughing Kookaburra, the largest Kingfisher in the world, is a strange looking bird.

Our visit to England, 2018
Owls are attractive subjects for photography and this one seemed to pose for me!
Amazing to note that I saw one in the wild last april, in California, and I wasn't even looking for birds then!

Our visit to England, 2018
Chilean Flamingos (Phoenicopterus chilensis) is definitely not what I had expected to find here in England! https://harewood.org/explore/bird-garden/bird/flamingos/

Our visit to England, 2018
Humboldt Penguins. Scientific name: Spheniscus Humboldti - Other common name: Peruvian Penguin.
'The Bird Garden' here has a colony of 13 Humboldt penguins. The first penguins of the present group arrived in
August 1989; two are still here and doing well at just over 25 years of age.


Our visit to England, 2018
We stayed in Wetherby. We parked our car in the Wilderness Car Park, near the river, and walked along the banks of
the River Wharfe to the Red Lion pub for dinner. We noticed kids playing in the river, the heat was on this summer.

Our visit to England, 2018
The driving in England is part of the charm, for me. I like to drive along the winding roads, over the rolling hills.
I am always amazed by the endless views one has on top of the hills. During this trip I did get the impression that
more roads have been upgraded to, what once was called, 'dual-carriage roads'. Smaller villages get by-passed
more often with thoroughfare roads. While travelling faster, there is less to enjoy of the countryside.

Our visit to England, 2018
We enjoyed our visit to the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Center at East Kirkby; it is a fine museum with WW2 memorabilia and some aeroplanes. I particularly liked the information on those that made their way (or not) back
home from behind enemy lines. I have made a report of my visit on my ENGLAND 2018 aviation page.

Our visit to England, 2018
Maud Foster Windmill in Boston, Lincolnshire.
We drove past it and I decided to pull over for a quick picture. Alas, there was no time planned for a visit.
It is a fine example of an English tower mill and was built in 1819 for the brothers Thomas and Isaac Reckitt by the Hull millwrights Norman and Smithson, for the sum of £1,826 – 10s – 6d. The Reckitt brothers carried on their business as
millers, corn factors and bakers. In the 1820s a bakehouse was added, and a steam engine was installed to supply
power to a bone mill (where bones were ground for fertiliser). www.maudfoster.co.uk/History.html
Maybe a stay and extended visit to Boston may be in order on some future visit.

 Castle Rising Castle

Our visit to England, 2018

Castle Rising is a ruined medieval fortification in the village of Castle Rising in Norfolk.
It was built soon after 1138 by William d'Aubigny II, who had risen through the ranks of the Anglo-Norman nobility to become the Earl of Arundel. With his new wealth, he constructed Castle Rising and its surrounding deer park, a combination of fortress and palatial hunting lodge.
It was inherited by William's descendants before passing into the hands of the de Montalt family in 1243. The Montalts later sold the castle to Queen Isabella, who lived there after her fall from power in 1330.
Isabella extended the castle buildings and enjoyed a regal lifestyle, entertaining her son, Edward III, on several occasions. After her death, it was granted to Edward, the Black Prince, to form part of the Duchy of Cornwall.

Our visit to England, 2018
The fortifications are humongous!

Our visit to England, 2018

Our visit to England, 2018

Our visit to England, 2018

Our visit to England, 2018

Our visit to England, 2018

St. Lawrence Church, Castle Rising
Our visit to England, 2018
Within the grounds of the Norman fortress of Castle Rising are the remains of a late Saxon church, built on the
foundations of an even earlier timber structure. Ca.1140 William d'Albini II, the lord of Castle Rising manor and Earl
of Sussex, began to build a new church, away from the castle, on the route used by visitors to the castle arriving by sea.

Our visit to England, 2018
The ornately carved font features intricate carvings of foliage and grotesque heads.
It predates the church and is thought to have been brought here from the earlier church inside the castle walls. www.britainexpress.com/counties/norfolk/churches/castle-rising.htm

Our visit to England, 2018

Our visit to England, 2018

Our visit to England, 2018
To the memory of Henry Greville Howard, 2nd Leutenant, King's Royal Rifles.
Died at Calcutta, July 21st 1899.

The KRRC make for some interesting reading!
On britishempire.co.uk/forces/armyunits/britishinfantry/krrc.htm I found that "...the 1st Battalion The King's Royal Rifle Corps sailed from Bombay on 10th Dec 1896 bound for Mauritius via Capetown on the troopship RIMS Warren Hastings. It arrived in Capetown on 28th Dec. where half the battalion disembarked for service in South Africa; B D E and F Companies, for garrison duty in Wynburg.
The remaining 4 companies, A C G and H and HQ, were to sail on to Mauritius."

Now this is where it gets interesting...
"For the first week of the trip the weather was fine but on the 13th the wind shifted south and it rained.
The ship was 8 miles off course when, at 2.20am on the 14th, it hit a rock off the coast of Reunion.
The water flooded in and the ship was in danger of sinking.
The King's Rifles formed up on the port side and the York and Lancasters and the Middlesex on the starboard, to use both forward companionways. The men slung rifles and moved forward to climb down the rope ladders. When the ship suddenly listed to starboard the waiting men were brought up on deck.
At first it was thought best to keep the women and children on board until daylight when it would be safer to get them off, but as the listing of the ship worsened they were brought to the bow and lowered onto the rocks.
By 5.30am the evacuation of the ship was complete without loss of life apart from a ship's cook and an officer's servant.
The KRRC were garrisoned at Curepipe, Port Louis, Mauritius while the York and Lancasters and Middlesex carried on to India."

2nd Lt. H.G. Howard must have been on board one of these ships to India!
In 1899, those of the KRRC in South Africa, fought in the Boer War. Also detailed on that website.
All this from a commemoration plaque in a church and the internet!

Our visit to England, 2018



Our visit to England, 2018
We had booked at Elme Hall, Wisbech for two nights.
It was a bit above my intended budget, but it looked very good as one can see. Unfortunately, the door of our room refused to fully close and we were put in The Lodge: a run-of-the-mill modern motel room annex, with hardly a wifi signal.
So, alas, we only stayed one night in this nice room after repairs were completed, did not get a refund or apologies.
Also, Elme Hall is on a crossroad of busy thoroughfares and the town of Wisbech seems best to be avoided for it has
been gnawed at by poverty, like rats on a cheese. No, I don't think I'll be staying at Elme Hall again.
The breakfast buffet was good, though!

Our visit to England, 2018
According Google Maps, we thought, there was supposed to be a pub in the High Street of Wisbech, but the
entire street was a shambles and no pub was found here.

Our visit to England, 2018

Our visit to England, 2018
On Market Street we found The Globe, which offered a very simple fare but it was also the cheapest dinner
we had during this entire trip. It was obvious a soccer match of the World Championship Football 2018 (Russia)
was on here, but the punters insisted on watching cricket. So we had cricket on 2 tv screens, with the sound on, while
we watched football (Serbia 0-2 Brazil) soundless with faint background music still from the pub's soundsystem.
Weird. The second half we watched in our hotel.

Our visit to England, 2018
WW1 War Memorial, center of town (Bridge St. and B198 along River Nene), Wisbech



Our visit to England, 2018
Last year, while in England, I made it a point to plan my routes through AONB's: Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
This time I took things a little further, planning visits for a new interest of mine: 'birding'. I carried with me a long
telezoom lens of 600mm for this purpose. But I am a novice at this and a chronic lack of patience may prevent me
from becoming any better at this. Identifying the birds is a major obstacle for me, but the scenery of these areas,
such as here Titchwell Marsh, are most enjoyable.

Our visit to England, 2018
The strong winds kept the birds mostly on the ground, an aspect I had not considered..

Our visit to England, 2018

Titchwell Marsh is an English nature reserve owned and managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Located on the north coast of the county of Norfolk, between the villages of Titchwell and Thornham.
 its 171 hectares (420 acres) include reed beds, saltmarshes, a freshwater lagoon and sandy beach, with a small woodland area near the car park.
This internationally important reserve is part of the North Norfolk Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Titchwell Marsh is archaeologically significant, with artefacts dating back to the Upper Paleolithic, and has remains of military constructions from both world wars. These include brickwork from a First World War military hospital and 1940s artillery targets for armoured fighting vehicles and warplanes in the Second World War.

Our visit to England, 2018

  • Egyptian geese (Alopochen aegyptiaca; NL: Nijlgans)
  • A Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna; NL: Bergeend)
  • Black-headed gull, in summer plumage (Chroicocephalus ridibundus; NL: Kokmeeuw)
  • Pied (Eurasian?) Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta; NL: Kluut)

  • Our visit to England, 2018
    A volunteer at the visitor center pointed out a Tawny Owl (or Brown Owl - Strix aluco; NL: Bosuil) to me, I would have walked past it most assuredly! The tawny owl is a robust bird, 37-46 cm (in length, with an 81-105 cm wingspan.
    Weight can range from 385 to 800 gr. Its large rounded head lacks ear tufts and the facial disc
    surrounding the dark brown eyes is usually rather plain. en.wikipedia.org:_Tawny_Owl


    Our visit to England, 2018
    After our windy visit to Titchwell Marsh we entered the summer heat again in the centre of town at King's Lynn.
    I came across a statue here of King John, one does not come across many commemorations of King John...
    King's Lynn was one of the last places he visited shortly before his death in 1216 and the fateful loss of his treasure,
    as his baggage train attempted to cross the marshlands around the Wash... He probably was led astray on purpose.

    The area deserves further exploration, at some future date, for now I was merely out to visit the bookshop
    of Waterstones here; it brought a moderate success, a Donna Leon paperback and a photobook.

    Our visit to England, 2018
    The heat made us skip a visit to the nearby St.Margeret Church and instead we retired to 'The Eagle', to watch
    Senegal 0-1 Colombia. It would more and more become a routine, watching (part of) a game in a nice pub with a
    cold refreshment in front of us.


    Castle Acre Priory
    Our visit to England, 2018

    Castle Acre Priory was a Cluniac priory in the village of Castle Acre, Norfolk, England, dedicated to St Mary, St Peter, and St Paul.
    It is thought to have been founded in 1089 by William de Warenne, the son of the 1st Earl of Surrey who had founded England's first Cluniac priory at Lewes in 1077.
    The order originated from Burgundy.
    Originally the priory was sited within the walls of Castle Acre Castle, but this proved too small and inconvenient for the monks, hence the priory was relocated to the present site in the castle grounds about one year later.

    The priory was dissolved in 1537, and its ruins are in the care of English Heritage, along with the nearby
    Castle Acre Bailey Gate and Castle Acre Castle. We did not visit those, less impressive ruins.

    Our visit to England, 2018

    Our visit to England, 2018

    Our visit to England, 2018

    Our visit to England, 2018

    The Prior's chambers; one sizable room with next door his personal chapel.

    Our visit to England, 2018

    Our visit to England, 2018
    Intricate decorations in the Prior's quarters

    Our visit to England, 2018

    Our visit to England, 2018
    King Henry VIII gave the dissolved priory to the Duke of Norfolk complete with its estates and
    the remaining monks were turned out...



    Our visit to England, 2018
    It does not get much more rural than this!




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