Thursday, 27 January 2011

2011 A-Z Challenge - B if for Blue

B is for BLUE.

Baby Blue Bear.

Blue Glass Paperweight.

and another!

A trio of blue Go Go Toys.

Blue Hyacinth.

Blue Beads.

Blue Ribbons.

A Box of Blue Buttons.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

52 Walks in 2010 (& 2011) - Walk 45 - Ampthill (9th January 2011) and 2011 A-Z Challenge - A is for Ampthill

Despite 2010 having passed I am keen to finish my 52 Walks challenge and so this afternoon we ventured out for walk 45 and our walk took us to Ampthill, a small market town in Bedfordshire. This year I have signed up for a 2011 A-Z photography Challenge so visiting and photographing Ampthill meant I also had a subject for 'A' - A is for Ampthill.

We have driven through Ampthill many, many times but today was the first time that we had actually walked around the town. Despite being promoted as an historic Market Town, Ampthill isn't a particularly pretty town although it does have old buildings, many of them dating back to the 17th and 18th century, and some of Tudor origin.

The Clock Tower is a listed building and became the centre of attention when it featured in the cryptic Kit Williams book 'Masquarade' . People flocked to Ampthill in search of a buried golden hare which was eventually unearthed in nearby Ampthill Park.

The area of Ampthill Park has probably been parkland since the 15th century when Ampthill Castle was built. Since the 15th century Ampthill Park has been the site of a royal residence and hunting ground, and a landscaped garden for generations of aristocratic residents of the Park House. The gardens were landscaped by Lancelot Capability Brown in the 18th century. Henry VIII was a frequent visitor to Ampthill and used the castle and grounds for hunting. In 1532 Henry sent his first wife, Katherine or Aragon, to live at Ampthill for a year whilst their marriage was annulled. Katherine was then moved to Buckden and Henry and his new wife Anne Boleyn returned to Ampthill. Towards the end of the century though the castle was neglected and was ruinous by 1600. Ampthill Park House was re-built between 1687-1689 and whilst the house is now in private ownership the park land is now owned and managed by the Town Council assisted by the Greensand Trust.

The Ampthill Camp Memorial Cross located in the park commemorates the training camp established by the Duke of Bedford for volunteers during the First World War.

Also within the park is Katherine's Cross it marks the site of the castle and was erected by Lord Ossory in 1770