Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Weekend Break, Day One .......

As you know we were away last weekend and what a busy weekend it was!

We were picked up from home at 7.15 a.m. on Friday morning and transported to the nearest Motorway service area to join our coach for the journey Oxfordshire and to our first stop, which was Hook Norton Brewery.   Hook Norton Brewery sits on the North side of the Cotswold Hills, where a natural spring provides the ideal site for a bewery.  The brewery remains one of only 32 independent family-run breweries.

Approach the village of Hook Norton from any direction and the first thing you see is the Church tower. The second is the flag waving proudly over the brewery. The Hook Norton Brewery was started over 150 years ago by farmer and maltster John Harris. Today it is run by his great great grandson James Clarke. John Harris' brewery has now achieved a reputation he could have never imagined and the beer it produces today is enjoyed not only in the UK but in many other countries.

Our tour of the brewery started on the ground floor where there is a fine 25 horsepower pump which was installed in 1899 to supply through a series of belts, cogs and shafts the motive power to draw water from a natural spring 250 feet below ground and supply power the brewery needed to produce it's beer. It is no longer in daily use for its original purpose, but it is still a fully functioning steam engine and will occasionally provide power for the brewing process.

We climbed stairs, taking us up the five stories to where all the brewing processes take place, inhaling the aroma of hops, malted barley and yeast - a heady concoction!    Below is a slide show of the various equipment used in the brewing process.

After the fascinating tour we were able to sample the finished products in the small bar and of course there was the inevitable 'gift' shop where we purchased a momento of our most enjoyable visit.

Mmmmm, which shall I try first?

A little souvenir

Boarding the coach we headed for Frilford in Oxfordshire to Millets Farm Centre with its extensive range of facilicilites including a farm, shop, garden centre, cafe, craft gallery and restaurant.   The farm shop offers fresh local food straight from their own fields at Millets Farm  or sourced from local suppliers, which I would have readily bought had we been heading home rather than just starting our weekend away, you could quite easily spend a full day there.   A tasty lunch of  a variety of sandwiches, cakes, tea/coffee was included and very enjoyable it was.   After lunch we were able to spend some time perusing what was on offer at Millets before setting off on the next leg of our journey which took us to Dorchester Abbey.

More usually known as Dorchester Abbey, the Abbey Church of St Peter and St Paul in the parish church of Dorchester-on-Thames, a small Oxfordshire village with just over 1000 inhabitants, located 8 miles south-east of Oxford (map). It has a lively and active congregation, with 116 persons on the electoral roll.

The Christian heritage of the site of the present abbey can be traced back almost 1400 years to the Saxon period, if you are interested in the history you can read about it here.    It is a truly beautiful and fascinating place and we took lots of photos to share with you, though they probably don't do real justice to the place, I have put them together in a slide show for you.

It was dark by the time we had finished our tour of the Abbey, as you can see from this last photograph we took.

We boarded the coach to take us to our hotel for the night where we enjoyed a lovely three course meal before we retired for the night in readiness for our scheduled visits the following day.

Join me for Weekend Break, Day Two.


Beach Bum said...

Awesome pictures! I love to tour breweries and sample what they make.

My wife and I are planning a trip to Britain in a couple of years. I seriously dig the history

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Love those old breweries...

Valerie said...

Enjoyed this post. Its great seeing things actually working. I visited a local mill last year (and posted) and was in my element seeing how everything worked. Milletts Farm Shop is just round the corner from the WI's Denman College (Marcham). Naturally we visited there a lot... the only place I could get decent watercress...grins. Pity you couldn't buy some of their products, their meat is wonderful!

MorningAJ said...

Excellent choice there with the pear cider!

Anonymous said...

It looks fabulous :) I especially love the cheesy grin in the first pic...

Well, I promised to let you know when I was back in blogland and here I am... Just no longer eternally distracted!! ;)

mrsnesbitt said...

A great tour! Loved the debating at the bar!

Dumdad said...

What a great trip!

Akelamalu said...

If you love history you'll love England Beach Bum!

Great aren't they Scots Lass?

I would have loved to have stocked up on fresh produce at Millets Valerie, everything looked so lovely!

I thought so too AJ ;)

Great to see you back . My grin is a bit cheesy isn;t it? LOL

I was only debating which to try first Denise, I actually tried all of them! LOL

It was Dumdad!

Flowerpot said...

What a great time you had! And well deserved too! xx

Finding Pam said...

This looks like such a charming place to visit with Millets produce, the brewery and that beautiful church.

I adored the photos and the slide show.

Ron said...

"inhaling the aroma of hops, malted barley and yeast - a heady concoction!"

OMG, I adore the smell of beer, so I would have really enjoyed this!

And how fascinating to see how it's made, and them to be able to drink it - oh, the RAPTURE!

Awesome photos! I especially enjoyed the ones of the abbey. That last one of the cemetary and windows is gorgeous!

I so enjoy reading about your jaunts! You make the perfect tour guide. Looking forward to day two!

Thanks for sharing, m'dear!


Daryl said...

I think you are having way too much fun ... I wish I was having it with you .. retirement never looked so good!

Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog

Odat said...

Great trip!
I love the last pic the best!!

nitebyrd said...

The brewery looks so fascinating! YUM! for pear cider!

I ♥ that picture of the abbey. Night was a perfect time to capture it!

Linda said...

The brewery looks very nice and definitely like someplace my boss would want to spend lots of time in but you know I'd want to spend time at Dorchester Abbey! What a fascinating place - especially the sculpture of the Knight in Chainmail Armour. I'd probably have taken about 50 pictures of that alone!

Looking forward to the next leg of your journey!

A Lady's Life said...

I like the tasting part of the brewery lol
It must have been wonderful to see how they make the beer in large amounts.
We saw some vats being delivered to one place and there were three of them but sooo HUGE! I just can't imagine making so much in one vat.

Travis Cody said...

Looks like a marvelous time!

Akelamalu said...

Thanks Flowerpot x

It was a great day of visiting Pam :)

You would have loved the whole weekend Ron, especially the Sunday morning visit so stay tuned!

Oh retirement is just wonderful Daryl!

Thanks Steve, you're invited to follow mine.

It was a great trip Odat :)

Yep Pear cider is yummy Nitebyrd. The abbey looked wonderful all lit up in the dark.

You would definitely love the abbey Linda, so many photo opportunities.

The brewery tour was fascinating Lady'sLife in that they still brew using original equipment and in the traditional ways.

It was Trav

Maggie May said...

Nothing quite like being in a brewery for a couple of hours!
Like your slide shows!
I have been on trips like that myself....... but not to Hook Norton! Sounds like a good trip.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Casdok said...

Sounds and looks realy interesting!

Gledwood said...

i'll try and be to the point
in answer to your q
gave in a negative screen yesterday and i only question it because i feel spiked nothing i took

the detailed questioning of yesterday has opened up some horrible horrible truths where i have realized i was far more ill than i thought i was a couple of times, one of which went on for months if not years on end and was partially blocked out by heroin, the way symptoms are blocked legally by antipsychotics and mood stabilizers.

i can't take antidepressants , they make me too hyper and i have crashed really horribly to the point of psychotic while still on them

sorry i've got to go this subject is really upsetting me but i don't mind answering

Mama Zen said...

What a great day!

Spiky Zora Jones said...

Akelamalu: You make me want to take the next plane to the UK. You do the funnest things. The smell of brewing beer is awesome.

the photos are awesome and the last one at night...beautiful.

more please. And thank you sweetie, for sharing. xxx

Julia Smith said...

I really like the wipe effect you have on your Dorchester slide show. And of course I adore the pictures.

I just love thinking of what original brewer John Harris would make of his beer and its reach past his village today.

Akelamalu said...

It was a great trip Maggie, especially the brewery! ;)

It was Casdok :)

I wish you could find a solution Gleds :(

Indeed it was Mama Zen

Do come to England Spiky you will love it!

So pleased you enjoyed the pictures Julia. I imagine John Harris would be amazed to see his legacy now.