Saturday, May 25, 2013

Day 21 - Cheddar Gorge - on Friday, May 24th, 2013

It was time to leave Cornwall and return home via Manchester Airport.  So we headed north on the A30 and hopped on the M5 at Exeter, intending to spend the night near Worcester.  Along the way, we drove through Cheddar Gorge, in Somerset, England.  The limestone gorge is home to many caves.  One of which contained the remains of the Cheddar Man, England's oldest human skeletons thought to be over 9,000 years old.

Those limestone caves are also great for aging cheese because of the ideal humidity and constant temperature in the caves.  Cheddar Cheese originated in Cheddar Gorge and is still produced there.  The first purchase of Cheddar Cheese was recorded by King Henry II in 1170.

We stopped for lunch in the town of Cheddar then took the Cliff Road (aka B3135) through the Gorge.  Along the way, we encountered some feral Soay Sheep.

Click on my photos below to see them in high resolution on Flickr.  You can view the entire set in high resolution by clicking here!

Cliff Road (B3135)

Limestone Cliffs

Feral Soay Sheep

You can view the entire set in high resolution by clicking here!

Day 20 - Lanhydrock - on Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

It was our last day in Cornwall.  There was one place we wanted to see on our way back to Bedknobs B&B in Bodmin:  Lanhydrock.  It is a gorgeous estate just south of Bodmin.  It offers one of the most extensive tours of all the National Trust properties.  

A wealthy merchant by the name of Sir Richard Robartes began building Lanhydrock House in 1620.  Portions of the house today date back to that time period.  Sir Robartes died in 1624.  However, construction was continued by his son, John Robartes, 1st Earl of Radnor.  The design featured a four sided square surrounding a courtyard.  In the 1700's, the east wing was removed.  

In 1881, a major fire destroyed the south wing and heavily damaged the central portion of the house.  The house was renovated after the fire and enjoyed a happy period of success until World War I when the heir Thomas (Tommy) Charles Agar-Robartes was killed during the Battle of Loos in France.  Lanhydrock House with its 400 acres were donated to the National Trust in 1953 by Tommy's younger brother, Francis Gerald Agar-Robartes, 7th Viscount Clifden. 

Click on my photos below to see them in high resolution on Flickr.  You can view the entire set in high resolution by clicking here!

Pam approaching the gatehouse built in the 1700's.

Lanhydrock Courtyard

Dining room table.

Kitchen Hearth

One of many hallways.

Portable tea set.

Billiards Table

A cutout of Tommy Agar-Robartes presiding over a living area.

Tommy's Bedroom

Court Robes



Housekeeper's Room


Living Area

One of several gardens.

St. Hydrock Parish Church

Church Interior


You can view the entire set in high resolution by clicking here!

Day 20 - Eden Project - on Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

With three days left in our trip to England, Pam and I decided to take in the Eden Project.    Completed in 2001 by reclaiming a Kaolinite pit in St Blazey, the Eden Project is a tourist attraction focused on environmental education.  At the center of the project are two huge domes, each consisting of hundreds of hexagonal and pentagonal, inflated, plastic cells supported by steel frames.

The attraction consists of five areas:

  1. Visitors Centre - where visitors are greeted, educated and fed.
  2. Rainforest Biome - a 3.9 acre, 180 ft high, 656 ft wide enclosure for tropical plants.
  3. Mediterranean Biome - a 1.6 acre, 115 ft high, 213 ft wide enclosure for temperate and arid plants.
  4. Core - an education facility providing classrooms and exhibition spaces.
  5. Outdoor Biome - consists of gardens that surround the Eden Project.
Arriving at 9:50 am from Bodmin, we spent a little over four hours, walking through each of the areas, spending lunch in their cafeteria between the Rainforest and Mediterranean Biomes.  

We enjoyed our visit!  It was cold and windy outside.  Once inside, we went right to the Rainforest Biome.  We warmed up immediately!  Recommendation: wear clothes you can layer and remove as necessary.  A backpack is a necessity!  When we finished walking through the Rainforest Biome, it was time for lunch.  After lunch, we explored the Mediterranean Biome and the Core.  We walked through the Outdoor Biome on our way back to our car.

If you are in Cornwall, we recommend a visit to the Eden Project.  Well worth your time to learn more about the living world around us!

Our first view of the Eden Project biomes.  It was cool and windy.  Note Pam in the lower right with her parka on.  She didn't need it a few minutes later when we entered the biomes!

The Balsa Eden Eco-Board surfboard is made of balsa grown in the Rainforest Biome wrapped in hemp cloth and sealed with a plant-based resin.  Once it has served its purpose, the surfboard can be composted.

Not sure what this plant is!

Georgeous tropical plant.  Do you know what it is?

Another beautiful tropical plant in bloom.  What is it?

Casa de Farinha - Farinha is a flour made from the root of the Cassava plant.

Oil Palm Tree is the primary source of palm oil.  Palm oil is the second to Soybean oil as the source of vegetable oil worldwide.

Rainforest Balloon used to provide scientists with a safe and nondestructive access to the rain forest canopy.

Mayeaux Tapestry: The Story of Cocoa - Check out these images.  Good for a laugh!  And to learn something new about Cocoa.

Indian Sugar Truck - Food or Fuel?  Sugar can be used for producing food as well as fuel.

Arabica coffee - Love that stuff!

Bromeliad - Just liked the flower.

The Eden Bakery where we enjoyed lunch.

The Mediterranean Biome - much cooler than the Rainforest Biome.  In this case, I mean that literally!  We were roasting in the Rain Forest!

Another unknown, but really cool spike plant.

One of many garden sculptures.

Another pretty flower.  This one in the Mediterranean Biome.

Mediterranean Biome

Utility Box Sculpture

Just gorgeous.




Strawberry Bed

Plant Processor