We took a walk around the small village of Biddestone last week. This is a small village just a few miles away from our home with a population of about five hundred.
I have a photo of myself at about eighteen months old in an immaculate white dress balanced on the stone stile by the pond here. My usual clothes would be scruffy trousers with patches and old faded t-shirts. But when I was with my nan she liked to dress me in pretty feminine dresses, much to my mum’s disgust. So it is a rare picture of me in a dress, but there is a scowl on my face to go with it!
When I was a bit older we would ride our bikes through the winding lanes to Biddestone. We would take food for the ducks who live by the large pond and sit outside on the benches. My brother and I would drink bottles of coca-cola through thin straws, and eat salted peanuts or crisps before we all set off for the ride back.
Last week, the sky was blue and the sun was shining, however it was bitterly bitterly cold. Perhaps the coldest day of the winter and we didn’t get far before we had to go back to the car to return circulation to our fingers even though we had gloves on.
The village dates back to Saxon times, and has been home to many industries, people and activities over the years. Though there is no longer a shop or school here, there is still a village hall and two pubs – the 18th century Biddestone Arms and the White Horse Inn.
If you have seen the 2013 film The Christmas Candle, you may recognise this village as some of it was filmed here, including at the White Horse pub.
The village water well in the top picture with its beautiful shelter still stands beside a row of cottages and traditional (still functional!) red telephone box, and we stopped to see the grade I listed St Nicholas church with its 13th century bell tower. The overgrown churchyard showed signs of spring bulbs pushing through the soil – narcissus and snowdrops – and flowering hellebores were dotted around the sinking gravestones.
There was more surprising wild beauty to see at this the most barren season. A long driveway was carpeted in yellow winter aconite and crocus. Overlooking the real ducks on the pond, there is a thatched roof with its own brace of ducks made of straw.
So the walk was short, but it was well worth venturing out on this chilly day. I am looking forward to many more walks in the coming months