I found another Monkey… but I can’t decide whether to keep it a secret and take you there in real life on a Solstice walk…It’s in Northwich and well worth the drive over :-)
It’s not actually quite solstice as we’re doing this on Monday 15th December.
We have lunch and then begin the walk to ‘spot the monkey’.
Marbury Country Park was the estate of Marbury Hall which was demolished in 1968. I had expected us to be hunting for a monkey in the area where the house stood – but we are striding out into woodland.
And I am told to be on full ‘monkey alert’!
Strangely located in a broadleaf woodland… Here is an enormous monkey in a most unusual setting. But thanks to an information panel in the bird hide which is next to the monkey, I can tell you that ‘Big Wood’ is a semi-natural ancient woodland, largely oak, sycamore and ash. The monkey puzzle tree was planted as part of the landscaping in the 1840s. The bird hide stands on the site of the summerhouse where the Smith Barry family would have relaxed away from the hall. Ah yes, just imagine, the stress of being so wealthy that you own both Marbury Hall and adjacent Belmont Hall near Great Budworth – the owner of both in the 1840s was James Hugh Smith Barry’s son – his father was an avid art collector of Greek and Roman art. His ‘collection’ included part of the Parthenon Frieze no less (now in the British Museum). In 1932 the house was sold and became a country club, and then in the war requisitioned for war use. After the war ICI bought the house, it deteriorated and was demolished in 1968. It was quite a house:
So, here we have a ‘statement of wealth’ monkey of the highest order.
Near to the monkey are the remains of an ice house – something you find in the grounds of wealthy houses, after all you need considerable ‘staff’ to manage one of these. There’s also an information panel that shows how this would have been used – I was especially interested to read this, as I hadn’t know exactly how ice houses work, this one is a ‘hen’s egg’ shape:
And as we approach the site of the hall, there are remnants visible.
I find it impossible not to ‘explore the wall’…. and find that it has an opening. And is, in fact, a plant nursery.
The day is dwindling now and we’ve nearly done.
And, we’re surprised to find this:
This is Marbury Pool, a little oasis set in woodlands, an unheated open-air pool open from May to October. Well. Time to head home.
Well done monkey hunting Gemma! So, a happy solstice to all and thanks to Gemma for a lovely day out in Cheshire.