This morning after an early frost we set off for a short walk. Out of the breeze it was hot but the wind chill made if feel cool. We walked up the canal to the Junction with the Staffs and Worcester Canal and turned left walking towards Tixall. Tixall Farm came into view as we turned the corner with its impressive buildings and tower. |The farm was built in C1830 for the Clifford family of Tixall Hall and is now converted to residential use.
We expected Tixall Wide to be full of moored boats but there was plenty of room possibly because it was open to the cool breeze. Thomas Clifford, guided by ‘the celebrated Brown’ and his pupil Eames, ingeniously made use of a new canal (Staffs and Worcester) to form a lake in his park (Tixall Hall), known to boaters as Tixall Wide
This Gatehouse to stands proudly on the opposite bank and is now used as a holiday home usually for Americans. We passed close by it when we went on the bus into Stafford yesterday. Tixall Gatehouse was built in about 1580 by Sir Walter Aston to stand in front of an older house. It is a delightful example of the Elizabethans’ uninhibited assimilation of Classical elements into the English style before Palladianism took hold. The main house and a successor, built in 1780, have now disappeared but the gatehouse still survives and is surrounded by grass. It was described in 1598 as ‘one of the fairest pieces of work made of late times in all these counties’ and, more recently, as ‘an Elizabethan ruin, without roof, floors or windows, used as a shelter for cattle’. To be on the roof terrace, its weather vanes re-coated with gold leaf in 2012, is a majestic experience so I have read.
We carried on to Tixall Lock and then on to bridge 107 where there is a lovely house with delightful extensive gardens down to the banks of the canal.
We then made our way across the River Sow and the Railway to Milford where we entered the Shugborough Estate and followed the trail passed the house and back to the River Trent where the Sow joins it.
At Essex Bridge over the river there is an entrance for walkers from Great Haywood which saves them walking across the estate to the ticket office at the main visitor entrance on the other side.
We stopped off at the Lock House Cafe for a coffee and then walked back to the boat. Looking up after hearing a noise in the trees we spotted this Tree Surgeon trimming an oak which over hung the canal.
You can just see him on the lower of the two branches on the right hand side of the tree.
The afternoon was spent sitting on the bank enjoying the afternoon sunshine until about 4pm when Michael and Pauline joined us from Nb. Dancing with Dragons for afternoon tea and cake and a good natter.
By the time I took Ecco for her last walk the moorings both below the lock and above to the junction had gone from being empty to being full. It must be all the bank holiday makers coming out for the weekend.