Sunday, 14 December 2008

The Vyne

The Vyne - rear facade

This short, but wonderful walk, comes courtesy of the National Trust and can be downloaded here. Although only 2.3 miles, this walk packs a lot in. The walk starts at the edge of Morgaston Woods and initially takes a straight line through the woods to come the edge of the lake which backs onto the house itself.

The initial paths are concrete and according to the walk notes were constructed during the second world war to act as a decoy for enemy bombers and distract them away from the munitions depot at nearby Bramley. At this time of year the concrete is covered by a carpet of leaves and could be any woodland path:

On reaching the lake, the path turns right and comes to an area of wetlands, where there is a hide to watch the wildflowl and wading birds that congregate there.

A zoom photo reveals a pair of herons on the far bank.

Map: Explorer 144 (Basingstoke, Alton and Whitchurch)

Rating: four stars.

The Vyne

The Vyne that we see today is, perhaps surprisingly, only a part of a what was once a much larger Tudor house. It was created in the early sixteenth century from a number af free-standing medieval buildings: the lawn at what is now the rear was once a series of Tudor courtyards in the style of Hampton Court.

The classical portico was of course added later, around 1660, and the staircase hall was remodelled in a classical style at the same time - and is rather discordant with the rest of the interior. The chapel is notable for its beautiful glazed Flemish tiles.

In the grounds there is a delightful seventeeth century brick summer house and the six hundred year old "Hundred guinea oak", so named because one of the Vyne's owners allegedly refused that sum of money for its timber.

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