Exploring English Country properties – Dudmaston Hall Shropshire

Penny W-TStarred Page By Penny W-T, 5th Jul 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2d7b36bs/
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Europe>England>Oxfordshire, The Cotswolds & Around

Wearing my journalist hat, I went along to Dudmaston Hall to chat to the House Steward, who monitors the care of the property on behalf of the National Trust. I was doing a series of articles on such houses around the county of Shropshire at the time. Join me n a bird’s-eye, whistle-stop tour of this beautiful Hall . . .

Location

The entrance gateway to Dudmaston Hall’s parklands lies at the end of a winding country lane. Crossing the cattle grid at the gateway, you realise that this rolling meadowland in front of you has a practical use. A little further on, and you find them – a fine herd of cattle lazily strolling around. Into the environs of the house and its wonderful orchard car park, and you are aware of the peaceful atmosphere. The car park is full to overflowing as you search out a space.

Estate grounds

This historic estate covers 1195 hectares, from the east bank of the river Severn across to the road running from Bridgnorth to Stourbridge. The estate also includes some of the ancient forest of Morfe. The estate stretches to Hampton Loade, and the local railway station that is part of the Severn Valley Railway network. “We have a car park at the station” explained the House Steward “so that visitors can make the journey by train if they wish to enjoy a leisurely day out.” She explained that there is also a privately operated river ferryboat to bring visitors from the railway station across the river and onto the estate.

Regular events

There is a broad spectrum of events organized at the Hall throughout the year, with some activities arranged during the winter months when the hall is not open to the public. These range from Snowdrop Walks and Forest Walks in February and March through to concerts, car rallies, activity days, craft fairs, all leading to Halloween celebrations and a Victorian Christmas fair. There are always special events designed over Bank Holiday weekends.
A very focused range of education days are also organized, with a highly popular ‘Dig for Victory’ programme that supports primary education at Key Stage 2, with a World War 2 theme. Children become evacuees for a day and try their hand at a variety of activities from that period. These days are already heavily booked for this season. These events can also be run in conjunction with Severn Valley Railway so that children can arrive on the train as the real evacuees would have done.

Exploring the Hall

As the Hall is still a private residence, only a few of the rooms are open to the public; but those that are, are stunning. A one way circuit through the Hall makes it more convenient for visitors, as they can go at their own pace, and in many rooms there are seats for you to ‘take a breather’ if you need to. In fact there are many chairs in all the rooms, but many are antique and not there to be sat upon. So the Hall has devised a fun way to let you know which seats you should not sit on – if there is a teazle (sharp prickly plant) on the seat, you don’t sit on it! If you did, the teazle would make a distinct and lasting impression on you, which could be uncomfortable!
Each of the public rooms has a room steward, who can answer your questions and provide more information on the things displayed in that room. As they are all volunteers, different people work different days, therefore they work different rooms each time. A room steward explained that it is all very democratic – all the names of the public rooms are put in a hat each start of shift and each person draws out a room where they will work for that day. Each display room has a different theme, paintings, china, clothes, two rooms with exquisite painting of botanical specimens researched around the world – and an original Victorian style kitchen, displaying the type of utensils and equipment from that period. This room however, is also used as the family activity room, set up with table top art easels for young and old alike to put some of the things they have seen around the estate onto paper.

Volunteers around the Estate

The House Steward pointed out that the volunteer team is a very important part of being able to open the Hall to the public. “There are currently 70 volunteers on our books” she said “and we have 12 people on duty each day we are open.” Volunteers can be any age between 16 and 80, and can decide how often they want to work, and what days they can do. The Hall opens Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday during the summer, plus Bank Holiday Mondays, and for special events at other times of the year. All volunteers receive training on the history of the Hall and its estate, and how to work with the public. Whilst there is no pay, there are nevertheless, a few perks to the job – free refreshments whilst on duty, two special group outings each year and a summer barbeque at the Hall.

Gardens Lakes and Parklands

There is one thing for sure, one day to explore this property is not enough. But that’s not a problem, because the first time you come you will fall in love with its wonderfully peaceful environment. Not only is there the House to explore, but there are then the gardens and lake, and then the greater parklands, around which there are several planned walks; which just from the parkland walks alone, would be a very relaxing way to spend a day. Energy for walking, yes, but the ‘chill-out factor’ that it will give you? That would be worth a day of anyone’s time. If you have not made this visit yet, make sure you find out soon, what you have been missing.

Tags

Dudmaston Hall Shropshire, Historic Parklands, National Trust Properties, Shropshire Travel

Meet the author

author avatar Penny W-T
Published articles on education themes, travel, history and writing techniques. Written a book on WW1 - Gallipoli, and travel books. Run a marketing network for small businesses.

Share this page

moderator Mark Gordon Brown moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know

Comments

author avatar Eileen Ward Birch
5th Jul 2013 (#)

Interesting, thank you.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Penny W-T
5th Jul 2013 (#)

My pleasure Eileen, worth a day trip if you want somewhere peaceful to explore sometime.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Phyl Campbell
5th Jul 2013 (#)

Wow! You could get a lot of people interested in the cool places where you are!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Penny W-T
5th Jul 2013 (#)

Thank you Phyl, yes we are lucky with all the heritage properties around us, and all the lovely countryside around them.

Reply to this comment

author avatar cnwriter..carolina
6th Jul 2013 (#)

another great travel piece thank you Penny

Reply to this comment

author avatar Penny W-T
6th Jul 2013 (#)

Thank you CNW. Before I joined Wikinut I had not realised how much travelling I had done, and what a fount of information I had hidden in my mind.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
7th Jul 2013 (#)

You are taking us with you to this heritage place and thereby a trip back in time - the only way I can make such a trip. Thank you Penny for such a lovely post - siva

Reply to this comment

author avatar Penny W-T
7th Jul 2013 (#)

Thank you Siva. I am trying to use my travel experiences as 'virtual trips' for other readers to see places through my eyes. Some will be historic places like this because I love travel and I love history.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Delicia Powers
8th Jul 2013 (#)

Wonderful Penny...!!!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Penny W-T
8th Jul 2013 (#)

Thank you Delicia, we have some wonderful stately homes around here.

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Username
Can't login?
Password