About karenlovestodance

I love to dance and I like to buy clothes in charity shops, though on one occasion I bought a teddy bear called Horace instead!

Erddig (including The Wolf’s Den)

Erddig has a very big house but we were there to just explore the gardens.

The clock was telling the wrong time.

We set off together up the path to explore

This is a good tree for photoshoots.

We were quite surprised to find bananas growing in Wales.

The discovery of deckchairs is always a good excuse to warm the fur in late summer sunshine.

On entering the wolf’s den we posed next to the howling wolf.

We tried to walk across the log but kept falling off so had to shuffle across on our tummies.

I had a go at swinging along but I am not a monkey so didn’t get far.

Nye managed to get right to the top of the bear pole.

We startled the humans when we popped up here!

It is best to let sleeping wolves lie.

This little thatched house is just perfect for bears. Unfortunately it was roped off so we couldn’t go inside.

After exploring the Wolf’s Den we were very hungry and were relieved that the cafe was still open and serving. Cream tea yum yum yum….

We hope to return to Erddig oneday when the house is open.

For more information see: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/erddig

Horace the Alresford Bear 19/9/2020

Chirk Castle

The construction of Chirk Castle began in the 13th century so some of it is very old. The castle wasn’t open when we visited but we were happy to explore the grounds.

On arrival we were very hungry so our first port of call was the café. We ate outside in the courtyard which was a tad chilly in the wind.

We took our cups of tea onto the lawn where it was much warmer.

After a little rest to let our lunch go down we played roly poly on the hill.

After many roly polies we set off to explore further.

We found a long seat that had been carved from a 200 year old cedar tree.

The tree was blown over in a storm in 2013. We read all about it on a display next to the seat.

Further on through the beautiful gardens we came to a thatched building where hawks used to live.

At the edge of ‘The Pleasure Ground Wood’ we climbed up onto a fence for a photo.

Unfortunately a gust of wind blew and we both tumbled backwards into long grass the other side.

One of the humans fashioned a bear lifting stick from a fallen tree branch and managed to retrieve us both. Here I am being lifted back over….

We had a look in The Woodman’s Hut but no one was at home.

It was time to move on as we had to get to Erddig next, so we headed back towards the castle.

The castle styled hedge made a great place for a photo shoot!

We would like to visit Chirk again oneday as it would be very interesting to see inside too.

For more information see: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/chirk-castle

Horace the Alresford Bear 18/9/2020

A bit of Italy in Wales; Portmeirion

Had the weather been warmer we could have thought that the humans had brought us to Italy; but we were in North Wales in Portmeirion

Off we went down the path to explore.

We climbed up on a balcony to get a better view of the chap on the other side who was reading something….

We liked this little tower; the humans referred to it as a folly.

As we went down the hill we noticed an enormous chess set. Nye thought the pieces were probably bigger than me.

A closer look was necessary….

The knight was definitely bigger than me.

We posed for a selfie with the King.

After this photo was taken the wind blew us backwards and we tumbled into the lap of a human sitting on a bench the other side. I think she was a tad surprised.

Further down the hill we looked back up at the houses and noticed a man leaning over a balcony. He was very still so we think he was a statue. Can you see him in this photo?

We squeezed through the railings to have a peek at the hotel swimming pool.

On the quayside we found a boat moored.

We thought about sailing it away then discovered that it was built into the wall!

We went through a tunnel to continue along the quayside.

After a short walk we arrived at the lighthouse, but it doesn’t actually work as a lighthouse. The humans said it was another folly.

We climbed up into a very big tree at the start of the Woodland walk.

Our little legs got quite tired climbing up to the old castle.

I had a rest to look at when we reached a pergola. Nye wouldn’t climb up as was bothered that the wind might blow him off the edge!

There wasn’t much left of the old castle….

Back down in the woods we found a large teddy bear sculpture carved from a tree trunk.

We sat for a little while in the dog cemetery. Lots of dogs were buried there. Several were named ‘Roger’.

Tree ferns always make me think of dinosaurs…

To rest our legs after so much exploring we sat on the beach. The tide was coming in though so it was time to find some refreshments.

Warm welsh cakes fresh off the griddle. Yum yum yum.

Many of the buildings in Portmeirion are holiday cottages. It would be an unusual place to have a holiday.

For more information see: https://portmeirion.wales

Horace the Alresford Bear 12/9/20

Powis Castle

It was a wonderful surprise when we arrived at Powis Castle today as we had no idea where the humans were taking us.

There is a wonderful view of the Welsh hills from the terrace.

We sat on the rather strange cannon that was shaped like a dragon.

We were surprised to find palms in the garden. Our human said the microclimate must be quite mild there.

Happiness is making memories. We certainly made good memories at Powis.

We stopped for a while to rest our legs sitting in a peaceful place.

There are lots of terraces in the hillside brimming with flowers.

Selfie time…

I think this is probably the only way we will ever get to pose with a peacock.

There are giant ladybirds all around Powis at the moment for children to find and count their spots.

The box hedges were very tall and quite wibbly wobbly.

Nye spotted a yellow giant ladybird.

There are numerous places at Powis for tired bests to rest their legs and just sit and watch the world go by…

Lots of apple trees too!

We wondered about having a paddle in the fountain but couldn’t as left our wellies at home.

Here we are with two rather splendid Welsh dragons behind us…

On the woodland walkI found a black giant ladybird with red spots. I have never seen a small one like that!

We left the insects in peace in their insect hotel…

There is a rather splendid view of the castle through the trees from the woodland path.

The sign says ‘Happiness is g8n8ng a tree a hug’….

So we hugged a tree. We are happy bears!

A giant foot but no sign of any giants….

We said ‘Hello’ to one of the peacocks that live in the grounds before walking back up to the café.

Welsh Barabryth. Yum yum yum

Do visit Powis Castle if you get the chance. We enjoyed every minute; a wonderful place for bears and humans too.

For more information see: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/powis-castle-and-garden

Westonbirt Arboretum (including accidental collection of Burdock burs)

There are many many trees to see at Westonbirt Arboretum. To begin I went up to see the tree tops on the high trail.

It was very interesting to see the trees high up.

Further along there was a good view of the wood works where people were busy making things.

There is an interesting information board on the walkway explaining how trees get their nutrients and water up to the leaves at the top.

I was hoping to climb up even higher to a platform around a tall tree’s trunk but unfortunately it was closed for maintenance.

At one point bees were busy and as the walkway was in their flight path I didn’t hang around.

At the end of the walkway there is a splendid sculpture featuring three dogs.

The day was very hot so I spent a while sitting under a very big tree.

There was also a very tidy bivouac.

I think this was my favourite tree in the Arboretum.

It is a Japanese Paper Maple.

The young trees are kept inside little fenced areas to keep them safe. This one is a honey locust tree.

There was a strange carved house for little people. A wizardry type of chap with a woodpecker on his head were above the door for fairies.

I was very surprised to come across the Gruffalo’s child wandering in the Silk Wood.

Somehow I managed to get caught up in some burdock. It is like the prickly side of velcro and my fur is the soft side.

Thankfully I managed to get free.

This is a special composting station where wood chips used for mulch are stored. The heaps get hot which sterilises them.

To start with I thought these flowers were crocuses growing at the wrong time. My human thinks they are some kind of anemone.

Sometimes you just have to lie under trees.

The view from the ground made me feel very small.

Another young tree safe it its cage. This one is a Japanese Maple (Westonbirt Spreading Star).

There are many miles of paths in the Arboretum. I think I travelled about 6 miles. (I did spend a little time in the bear carrier)

Many trees from all around the world big and small.

I was jolly pleased to find some honey bees…

I did rather jump when I spotted The Gruffalo! He is actually very friendly.

Mouse was busy with an acorn.

Fox let me have a little ride.

Then Owl was so busy being wise and thoughtful he didn’t lend a wing and help me up!

La

Squirrel was a happy fellow

And Snake fortunately didn’t eat me.

After so much walking about my legs were getting very tired and tummy hungry so we headed back towards the cafe.

I settled for cinnamon bun and some ice cream. Yum yum yum…

When I got home I discovered that I still had burdock burst stuck on my fur. The burdock plant is very good at distributing its seeds that way. I shall plant them in a pot and see if they grow baby burdock bushes.

Horace the Alresford Bear 11/8/2020

For more info about Westonbirt see:

https://www.forestryengland.uk/westonbirt-the-national-arboretum

Lacock Adventure

Nye was very excited to come along to Lacock with me.

Lacock is a very old village in Wiltshire.  Here I am admiring a splendid wood framed house.

We spotted what looked like a green castle in a garden but on climbing up onto the wall realised it was a topiary.

There was also a topiary whale. Can you spot it?

One house had a stall outside selling all sorts of home jams and meringues.

Amongst the jam we found a jar of Lacock honey. Honey is good for bears so we bought it.

Further up the road we spotted a little stall outside a cottage with lavender bags for sale.

Nye chose a little bag and we popped a pound through the letterbox as instructed.

Further along there was a trug full of very beautiful vegetables for sale.  Again we popped some money through the letterbox for some green beans and summer squashes.  Fortunately the humans were happy to carry them as they were rather heavy for small bears

Before going into The Abbey grounds we stopped at the National Trust Stables cafe for some chocolate cake. Yum yum yum….

The Abbey gardens are very pretty and many summer flowers were in bloom. 

There were also lots of apples in the orchard.

We said ‘Hello’ to the Abbey cat.

Nye spotted a big pond disguised with green plants and lilies growing all over the top.

We were pleased to discover a life ring at hand just in case anyone falls in.

The sheep in the next field were a bit shy and moved away when we went to greet them.

Here we are in front of Lacock Abbey…

We found a ‘Monastic drain’.  I peered down and there was a very big cavern underneath.  (For more information about the drain see the link at the end of this blog)

Before entering the Abbey to see The Cloisters we paused for a selfie.

The Cloisters at Lacock are a masterpiece and very beautiful.

Some of the filming for the Harry Potter films was carried out in Lacock’s Cloisters.

The Cloisters really are very special and well worth visiting.

As we walked back to the carpark I noticed this sign which is very true. We all need nature.

Horace the Alresford Bear 4/8/2020

For more information about Lacock see: 

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lacock-abbey-fox-talbot-museum-and-village

For information about the monastic drain see:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/wiltshire/content/articles/2006/01/30/lacock_abbey_drain_feature.shtml

Ashton Hill Woods

It is always good to explore new places. Ashton Hill Woods are actually fairly near to our home but we haven’t visited before.

Off down the path we went through the woods.

We stopped and climbed up onto a wall to see the view

It was very exciting to reach the Big Tree Grove.

The big trees are Californian Redwoods and were planted over 150 years ago.

Selfie time!

We stopped and ate the cherries that we had brought along for refreshments.

At times there were two strange bears walking just in front of us!

Nye is very small so it is necessary to keep a close eye on him in the bracken in case he disappears….

We decided to search for fungi…..

Found a lonely very tall mushroom!

At the edge of the woods there was a gap in the wall….

On climbing over we found some very well manicured grass and hills to roly poly down.

Whee……

We were having great fun but the humans called and told us we were on a posh golf course!

Back in the woods I climbed up a tree. Nye needed a paw to get up too.

He made it in the end!

We enjoyed exploring Ashton Hill Woods; a peaceful place.

For more details see: https://www.forestryengland.uk/ashton-hill

Lytes Cary

Lytes Cary Manor House has really lovely gardens

The large patch of various types of thyme was very pleasing to the eye.

I think I look good with purple!

After visiting the gardens we set off on the woodland explorer trail.

There was a very big bug house so I didn’t get too close just in case very big bugs had moved in!

Soon I came across a good opportunity to practice my climbing.

Someone had been busy building a bear shelter.

I stopped to listen to the bird song as suggested and my human got a video clip.

Then sadly her phone went off, the battery had run out, so we didn’t get any more photos.

We finished the woodland trail then walked around some fields while trying to work out what crops were growing. The visit ended with cake and a flask of tea; I am sure you can imagine me sitting with my Victoria sponge!

An interesting place to visit if you are passing by.

For more information see: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lytes-cary-manor

Horace the Alresford Bear 20/6/2020

Barrington Court

It has been a busy week for me visiting National Trust gardens; the humans should have been on holiday but ended up having to holiday from home and visit some fairly local places.  The first thing I noticed at Barrington Court was a sign saying only one gardener had been looking after the grounds during the ‘lockdown’ period. 

Everything looked fine to me but the grass was quite long in the orchard.

I was  very keen to see the gardens…

For a few minutes I had to shelter from the rain.

There were lots of marigolds in the kitchen garden; marigolds attract insects that eat aphids so I presume that is why they were there.

Cherries; yum yum yum!

Some of the flowers in the kitchen garden were probably being grown to cut and put in flower arrangements such as the Sweet William here.

I was very impressed with the pears being grown against the wall.

There were normal pear trees too; I think these will be delicious at the end of summer.

I was very careful not to fall into the pond.

A rather wild looking scarecrow was busy keeping birds away.

There was also a very busy gardener working very hard in The White Garden.

I liked this splendid path so much I just had to sit and look at it for a while.

The bees on the flowers are also fascinating to watch…

On leaving the gardens we discovered Strode House, which was built in the 17th Century as a stable block. It now contains a holiday apartment which must be a lovely place to stay.

I spent a while looking at the garden.

Here I am in front of the Tudor House, Barrington Court. It was one of the first large houses that the National Trust acquired.

I didn’t get too close to the moat.

While exploring the woods it was good to find that honey bee hives were nearby.

I kept well away from the hives. Bees are best left alone to make their honey.

There was a very strange multi-faceted sundial with a lion sat on top on the lawn in front of the house.

After all the exploring I was quite hungry. I had a very peaceful lunch sat on the lawn outside the shop (which is closed at the moment).

Barrington Court is well worth visiting especially if you like gardens with beautiful paths. I hope to go again sometime.

For more information see: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/barrington-court

Horace the Alresford Bear 18/6/2020

Kingston Lacy gardens & woodland walk

Today I visited Kingston Lacy for the first time ever.

There was a sign explaining that due to the estate being closed for a few months because of the coronavirus some of the garden areas had become a bit wild and overgrown. No problem for me as I like wild places!

Here I am resting in front of the house.

This sign urges humans to take off their shoes and feel the earth beneath their feet. I do that most of the time and love it.

I was very tempted to climb on these then noticed the sign….

It is wonderful to stumble upon bear sized shelters when exploring.

Another chance for a little rest in the Japanese Garden.

I climbed up onto the fence to view the other half of the Japanese garden.

There is a very beautiful meadow full of oxeye daisies and surrounded by bamboo.

I nearly got lost in the bamboo; it is much taller than the sort we have at home.

Sadly some of the flower beds are empty at the moment but they have been weeded and no doubt will soon be full of bedding plants.

The perennial deliphiniums were looking quite striking.

I’m not sure that this poppy should have been in the rose garden but I thought it looked amazing.

I didn’t expect to fine a sarcophagus at Kingston Lacy. The humans assured me that it wasn’t a real one.

Before going on the woodland walk I ate some lunch. I don’t always have cake!

The Woodland walk has some interesting activities along the route. Stepping stones; much easier for bears and humans with long legs. I have short legs.

I spotted a huge tree that must have fallen during a storm.

Someone had carved special bear sized steps into the side of it.

More splendid fungi….

This was an interesting activity found next to the path. Making faces with twigs and leaves.

I do like walking through woods.

The next activity was to build a little house with bits of wood and bark.

Further into the woods I found yet more fungi.

After completing the woodland walk my legs were quite tired and I felt in need of refreshment. I headed towards the stables cafe where takeaway food and drinks were being served.

I opted for locally made Purbeck icecream. It was delicious.

Kingston Lacy is a really lovely place and I do think children especially would enjoy the woodland walk.

For more information see https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kingston-lacy

Horace the Alresford Bear 17/6/2020