Monday, 3 August 2009

Wizards, Goblins and Knights in shining armour

With my new National Trust membership card and handbook in hand we went to find a nice place to walk today. There are quite a few places to choose from within 30 minutes drive and we decided to go to Hare Hill near Alderley Edge. This was described as a "tranquil woodland garden, especially spectacular in early summer" with a walled area. It isn't exactly early summer but I decided to take the chance. As I am a NT newbie I clearly did not read the information properly so when we finally got to Hare Hill after several detours we found the gates closed.
Luckily we were close to another lovely place :The Edge.

We had taken a little picnic and true to the North West, as soon as we sat down to enjoy our meal we felt a few drops of rain. Luckily this only lasted a few minutes and we had a beautiful afternoon. We particularly enjoyed our picnic, Mr Betsy had come over from London and brought us some delicious Poilane bread and I had made a simple chicken salad from some left over roast chicken, mayonaise and chives from the garden.

As we were enjoying the view above and fantasising about the cave we got chatting to a couple of lovely local ladies who told us all about the goblin in the cave, the legend of the farmer and his white mare, the knights in shining armour and the local mining history. I wasn't aware of the long history of mining in this area but I had heard about the Wizard and the teenage Halloween parties on the Edge and there is of course a tea room called The Wizard next to the entrance of the park. And funnily enough boy monkey had made up a story earlier on about a knight in shining armour and some animals. The area clearly tickles the fantasy!
The ladies also told us about the books by Alan Garner, a local fantasy writer whose books are better than the Harry Potter stories in their opinion. I am intrigued and will browse through the library on my next visit. The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath, his first two books, are drawn from local legends and locations and I have been told suitable for children.

A little further on we sat down to eat a snack next to the Armada Beacon Monument and there we bumped into a nice Dutch couple (they really are everywhere aren't they?). They told us all about the Armada fire warning system. Beacons were lit up and down the country as warning signs for the invading Spanish Armada. Absolutely fascinating. I am a great believer in talking to people. Not only because I feel it is important to show interest and compassion but you'll always learn something interesting whether it be about life, love or history as we found out today. We had a thoroughly lovely afternoon. Girl monkey was still talking about all the things she saw there two years ago (the monument, certain paths, the gnome tree) and I hope that in two years time she will still remember today.

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