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Recollections of our Branch Holiday, October 2019

The Branch holiday this year (2019) took place at Warner’s new Leisure Hotel at Holme Lacy House in the Wye Valley, with 34 Branch members and supporters participating. It was a great success and we’re already planning a 2020 holiday at Warner’s Studley Castle hotel in Warwickshire.

On this page we’re gathering photos and recollections from the holiday.



Brockhampton Estate and The Firs

Several of us visited the National Trust’s delightful Brockhampton Estate. It was built around 1400 as a rather grand manor house, and saw various owners. A new house further up the hill was built in the 1700s, and the old manor was then let to tenants until the mid 20th century. Oxford architect John Buckler oversaw the manor’s sensitive restoration in the 1870s. It now holds intriguing displays, with each room recreating the lifestyle of occupants from various eras.

The Firs, a museum at the cottage in which Edward Elgar was born, is not far away.

Photos: Jonathan Bromley, Martin Cowell


Only a few miles from Holme Lacy, Hereford is a gem with its wonderful cathedral and charming historic centre. The Cathedral houses historic treasures including its Mappa Mundi, chained library, and an engrossment (copy from 1217) of the Magna Carta. Outside the city centre, the Bulmer cider-making family has established an interesting Cider Museum.

Photos: Jonathan Bromley

Holme Lacy House Hotel and its grounds

Much of the hotel is housed in an historic building, and the grounds are extensive with a fine collection of specimen trees. There was no shortage of things to do on site.

Photos: Jenyth Worsley, Martin Cowell

Symonds Yat and Monmouth

The Wye Valley is classified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) with good reason. Martin and Anne took a trip through the area and visited Monmouth.

Photos: Martin and Anne Cowell

The Abbey Expedition

Jonathan, Sally, Alison and Beverley had a grand day out visiting various ecclesiastical buildings and ruins (and a rather fine pub) to the south-west of Holme Lacy. We took in Cistercian Dore Abbey (converted to a church in 1600 after the Dissolution), the ruined Augustinian priory of Llanthony near Abergavenny, and little Kilpeck church with its astonishingly rich and well-preserved Norman carvings.

Photos: Jonathan, Sally

Further information and reading

If these pictures have whetted your appetite, you might like to look at some websites that offer more information about the various places featured here.