Durrington All Saints

Stourhead Gardens

Amesbury SS SS Mary & Melor

Stourton St Peter

Outing to Stourton/Stourhead Gardens, Saturday 22nd May 2010

The sun was shining, even at 5.00 am when we left Little Milton (at least it felt like it!) with Maureen and Raymond, determined to repair our damaged reputation for always getting lost.  We set off early to ensure that no one could turn signs around and send us in the wrong direction, and enable us to enjoy a pleasant journey with a few scenic detours.

Maureen and Raymond were prepared however, having studied the maps for weeks and downloaded directions from the internet.  The routes were planned and sadly mum and I were banned from map reading which was a big disappointment.

Stourton Spring Outing 2010

Click photo to enlarge

Having passed signs for Woodhenge and Stonehenge we decided we must be getting close to the first tower at Durrington.  Having navigated through the village we saw the church set on a small hill.  As we had left so early we had to sit outside for hours waiting for everyone else to arrive!  With everyone gathered, we climbed the narrow stairs to the very cosy ringing chamber – accommodating all the ringers proved to be quite a squash!  The bells were raised by the pro ringers and then everyone else was allowed a ring.

Leaving Durrington we made our way to Stourhead Gardens.  The route took us past Stonehenge, but due to the directions from multimap no detour was allowed.  However the traffic jam along the road meant we did have a good view of the ancient stones and were able to buy the strawberries being sold along the road after eventually persuading our tower captain that there was sufficient time.

The ringing at Stourhead was thoroughly enjoyable.  It was a ground floor ring which was quite daunting at first for those of us who aren’t used to it, and the fact there was a large audience watching added pressure.  The ringing sounded good and onlookers appeared impressed.  As with previous outings, many ringers had brought healthy picnics and enjoyed a pleasant walk around the beautiful gardens.  Due to being up too early we weren’t so well prepared (except for the supply of melting Jaffa cakes) and so it was a quick trip to the local pub that clearly didn’t like the look of us and we weren’t allowed in.  The next pub was more accommodating and we enjoyed a not so healthy lunch with chips.

The final tower of the day was at Amesbury which had 8 bells.  This was again another nice tower and everyone had a ring and enjoyed listening to some complex methods which the pros ended the day with.  Then came the traditional group photograph and back to Steventon for the evening meal.

The day was a great success and although not as exciting because we weren’t lost it was probably better for our tower captain’s blood pressure.  Thank you to the organisers, and for the excellent brochure which accompanied the trip.  We look forward to next year’s outing!

Jennifer Willis