Sunday, 23 February 2014

Delapre Abbey

As we have put up with weeks even months of rain when finally the sun came out today i decided to get out for a few hours. Delapre Abbey was to be the destination it is situated just outside Northampton the Abbey has a long history going back as far as 1145.

 Delapre was original started as a Nunnery which was built by Simon de Senlis Earl of Northampton. In 1460 The Battle of Northampton took place in the grounds of the Abbey. This was an important battle in the War of the roses the Lancastrian king was captured and held at the Abbey during this battle. In 1538 Henry V111 took over the Nunnery since then the Abbey has passed through several owners until 1946 Northampton Council bought the estate. 
In 2001 the council where trying to sell off the Abbey a group of locals set up The Freinds Of Delapre Abbey group. To prevent the Abbey being sold and kept as a community resource, since then the group and the council have worked together to try and restore the house and grounds back to there former glory. As you turn off the road you are greeted by an old long Lime avenue leading you up to the car park and house. in front of you you will find a lovely old Victorian stables with it's clock who's chimes echo through out the garden. The stables also house a lovely tea room run by the Friends group the scaffolding has just been put up on the main part of the house this is the start of the restoration project on the house.
The highlight of a visit to Delapre is round the back of the house just past the boarded up Orangery there is a gate in the wall. Walk through it and you are in an old Victorian walled garden still complete with it's original greenhouses. These have been part restored although they where empty of plants on my visit i am sure they will be full to bursting ready to fill all the empty beds in the walled garden.
As well as the greenhouse's which take up the south wall the whole of the east wall is one long herbaceous border. There are many other island borders, herb garden, fruit beds as well as a Vegetable garden.
 At the back of the walled garden there is an old shrubbery full of small ponds and carpets of Snowdrops it was a bit boggy under foot in place'. They could do with removing some of the dead trees and planting some new shrubs but otherwise it's a nice area.

After a walk through the woods you will come across a vast lake full off swans, geese and ducks with a path to walk all the way round. It is well worth a visit to Delapre Abbey for an afternoon out yes it needs a bit of work in the grounds to improve things. The Paths need improving as they are very boggy in places but it is Free to visit and a lot of the work is carried out by volunteers. So if you have got no other reason to visit Northampton then make Delapre Abbey an excuse to come to the town.

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