So, I am sitting in a coffee shop in the middle of this beautiful landscaped treasure in the West Midlands of England, in the county of Staffordshire. I have been walking through what can only be described as a nature-lover's paradise.
Around five hundred acres of landscaped woodlands replete with pagoda fountains, serene lakes with placid ducks, rolling hills beyond; home to some amazing flora and fauna.
No one disturbs your walking pace. You are free to walk as slow or as fast as you like. There are some interesting manmade structures that you will encounter now and then. Almost all of the other entrants to the site seem to want to head to these, leaving you to amble along in your private kingdom. I seem to have struck the perfect equilibrium with my family- they are loyal patrons of the latter while I prefer the former. I leave them to their world while they, mine. A win-win for everyone. We keep in mobile touch and will meet for lunch and then tea. There are restaurants here in the middle of these woods and if you fancy, you can even bring a picnic. Picnic benches dot the landscape.
This jewel of Staffordshire countryside was, in bygone years the home of the Earls of Shrewsbury. Their erstwhile family mansion dating back to 1801, stands in the middle of the estate, in Gothic style architecture, though none of them reside in it anymore.
I suspect they have opted to live in more comfortable albeit prosaic inhabitation of the 21st century. It was around 1860 that the idea of opening up their gardens was conceived by the then resident Earl, in a bid to fund-raise for the upkeep of the estate. History tells us that some of the early attractions also included viewing instruments of torture! As he had done much to tame the wild landscape around to make it pleasurable viewing that the public would pay for, there stands a statue of him as well with the words 'He made the desert smile'.
Anyway, back to the present. I finish my coffee and decide to find my family. I find them all caged inside a small contraption, being thrust at high speed into anti-gravity movements, from which neither of them can escape until their 'captors' set them free! There are several like this of varying degrees of twists and turns. Judging by their screams and flailing arms, a time-travelling former past resident of this place might well think that these are the modern instruments of torture. But these people have paid good money and entered these voluntarily! Oh, well, that's the theme park side of things, if you really want to know. Time to head back for another walk on good old Terra Firma methinks!
73148 - 2023-01-26 02:08:28
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