Monday 28 March 2011

Better days

In search of a walk without a long drive at the weekend
 we went to a rather unpromising park,
covering 214 acres, 94 of which 'accommodate' a golf course.
Beckenham Place mansion was built in 1773  by John Cator
and was visited by the ubiquitous Dr Samuel Johnson.
He described it as,

one of the finest places at which I was ever a guest 
and where I find more and more a hospitable welcome 
and the man Cator has a rough, manly,
 independent understanding and does not spoil it by complaissance.
He never speaks merely to please and is seldom mistaken 
in things which he has any right to know. 
There is much good in his character 
and much usefulness in his knowledge.

Despite a brilliant blue sky it was hard to shake off the melancholy
 of a place so run down and in need of restoration.
 Mozart was composing his Symphony in G Minor at about the same 
time as the house was being built.

But it provides a large area of grassland, ancient woodland 
and water habitats, 
so a hospitable welcome does at least extend to: 

pedunculate oak, wild service tree, ash, sycamore, 
elm, hazel, holly, mulberry, bluebell, wood anemone, 
lesser cellandine, a variety of fungi, green woodpecker, 
great spotted woodpecker, lesser spotted woodpecker, 
kestrel, sparrowhawk, kingfisher, blue tit, long tailed tit, 
great tit, black cap, tree creeper, nuthatch, stock dove,
 wood pigeon, ring necked parakeet, blue crowned parakeet,
 stag beetle, lesser stag beetle, millipedes, butterflies, 
pipistrelle bat, bank vole, wood mouse, badgers and foxes.

Once we had turned our backs on the golf course
and the derelict mansion
the guided nature trail was pretty fine.
No tea room of course.
But chocolate cake awaited us at home.


  1. It's very sad when a place has been left to ruin but your parkland photos show much beauty.

  2. Pipistrelles , eglantine and badgers obviously prefer a more spartan regime . It all sounds magical !

  3. Oh it does look gloomy, no wonder you felt melancholic. But, as you say, the horticulture is of benefit to wildlife. But - no teashop even though there is a golf course? Pah!

  4. 'Fraid I am going to "buck the trend" and say how much I like your black and white photos of gloom and melancholy..........

  5. Oh gosh -- maybe you could move in there and restore it? The grounds look beautiful.

  6. I love those raggedy magnolias.