From yesterday’s post: ‘Train day out’ dawned and, as planned, we drove to Evesham this morning, parked the car and walked onto the platform. “It’s a bit strange,” I said after a few minutes, “but there’s nothing at all that refers to Cross Country Trains. Everything says GWR.” Husband looked less concerned that I felt. So I said it again. This time he looked around and frowned. He took out his phone and rang GWR. The outcome of his conversation was that we got back in the car and drove out of the station.
We had checked the Cross Country Trains website . It showed that the 10.30am weekday London, Paddington train stops in Evesham and Oxford. Nowhere on this page does it suggest that the train is not run by Cross Country Trains. Needless to say, our complimentary ticket were only valid on their trains so, not being prepared to purchase new tickets , we got back in the car and drove out of the station. We were both feeling rather glum by now. As my daughter’s text said – ‘What is it with you two and trains?’
We drove to the end of the road. Left towards home or right towards the town centre – what was it to be asked Husband. It’s probably fifteen years since I went to Evesham and on that occasion it was to shop. I found it a very uninspiring place and haven’t been back since. Nevertheless, having planned a day out, I said that we should turn right and make the best of it. The shops still didn’t look very exciting so we decided to concentrate on the area just outside the main shopping area. And didn’t we have a lovely time …
Once home to one of the largest abbeys in Europe, the market town of Evesham sits on the banks of the River Avon in Worcestershire and was the site of a major battle in the 13th century. Though most of the abbey was lost during Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries, there are many very old buildings to delight lovers of architecture. Here is a diagram of the original abbey site. Only the two churches, St Lawrence which dates from 1195 (and was built on the sight of the original building c AD 700), and All Saints, built a hundred years later, and the tower (dating from 1500s), remain. These can be seen on the left of the picture. Despite their close proximity, the two churches originally served separate parishes. The building at the front of the picture is no longer there.
There is little more uplifting a sight than to see the sun stream through a beautiful stained glass window. All Saints has several.
The highlight of the entire site for me was found in the south chapel of the less ornate St Lawrence Church. Measuring around six feet by five, this stunning appliqued picture depicts three ghostly figures of monks walking towards the abbey entrance. Unfortunately there is nothing to explain its provenance, no explanation as to whom it should be attributed.
A walk through the church grounds leads to Abbey Park and what a treat that turned out to be. We had no idea of its existence. The park is formed from the original abbey gardens and is set over several levels leading down to the River Avon.
With enclosed children’s playgrounds, picnic areas and a memorial garden to the Great War (which you can see on the top left of the picture below), it is a lovely place to while away and hour or two. The small pool in the picture is part of the Abbey’s original fish ponds where the monks farmed the perch, pike, bream and eels which formed a substantial part of their diet.
Eventually coffee beckoned and we made our way back through the Abbey grounds and into a narrow walkway lined with very old buildings which, according to a plaque on the wall, date back centuries. The cafe proprietor told us that the cafe was 17th century but is ‘just a baby’ when compared to some of the other buildings near by.
Inside the cafe was a nice surprise. I have a fascination for old dolls’ houses and there, in a case, was a wonderful example. Unfortunately I had to photograph it through glass so the pictures are not very clear.
It was an unexpectedly interesting and enjoyable morning out, made even better by the fact that on our way home we called in at a nice pub for a late lunch.
Thing is – we STILL have two first class ‘go anywhere’ train tickets to be used by 4th September. Look out for part 3 of this post.