Dymock Weekend

April 1-3 2016

Photo: Jean Wykes

On April Fool's Day we set off for Queen's Wood Car Park, near Kempley in Gloucestershire, to rendezvous with ten other members, to explore the Dymock Poets' Way 1 and 2, the Daffodil Walk and the Three Choirs Way.

On the cusp of March into April we had plenty of mad March winds and lots of April showers to challenge us that Friday afternoon. By mid-day on Saturday the sun came out and our spirits rose even when we dozen walkers sought the various way markers, few of which unfortunately, seemed to exist.

The Dymock Poets, John Drinkwater, Edward Thomas, Wilfred Gibson, Rupert Brooke, Lascelles Abercrombie, and Robert Frost inspired us as we walked along, and some of our members who loved their poetry recited them to the rest of us. Edward Thomas had written of a pastoral way of life which was beginning to disappear: I wonder how he would react to our 21st century factory farming?

There was much to see in the area; 12th century frescoes in St. Mary's Church in Kempley, a minature cathedral of the Arts and Crafts Movement at St. Edwards Church, an excellent permanent exhibition on the Dymock Poets in Dymock Church and the well preserved manor of Preston Court with its Tudor and Georgian facades.

We spent our two nights at the Cotford Hotel, a Gothic Victorian house set in a landscaped garden at the foot of the Malvern Hills. It was built in 1851 as the summer residence for the Bishop of Worcester; this tells you something about the comfort and welcome we received at the hotel. Its second great attraction was its excellent French style cuisine and we would all recommend it to anyone wanting a treat when travelling through the area.

Photo: Jean Wykes

It was a trip down memory lane to see hedges covered in frothy billows of white blossom instead of being flayed back to the trunk; the wood anemones providing a cream carpet between the glorious golden wild daffodils growing in profusion, none of them trampled but respected; the large agricultural complexes and barns still agriculturally used instead of being gentrified for weekend city dwellers.

Coming from urban Oxford, the rural weekend was a very refreshing uplifting experience. Thank you to all who shared their time and knowledge to make it a very memorable weekend, uplifting one's soul. Thank you so much, Eme, for organising, and keeping a gentle nurturing hand on it, so we could all fulfil our different agendas for the weekend.

Jean Wykes