From New Forest to Hunter’s Moon
After a free night at the Caravan and Motorhome Club New Forest site we set off with waste tanks empty and fresh water tank full. It was time for a National Trust visit – Kingston Lacy, near Wimborne Minster was beckoning.
Home to the Bankes family until they ran out of heirs, this house was bequeathed to the National Trust upon the death in 1982 of Henry John Ralph Bankes, along with Corfe Castle. It was the biggest bequest ever received by the Trust.
We were a little worried that it would be overcrowded on a lovely summer Saturday, but were able to park the motorhome very easily, and bag an instant house entry timeslot. Eating our lunch early in the car park and turning up when everyone else was heading for the cafe worked well.
The house was a strange mixture of grand and homely – Ralph Bankes had lived as a recluse in a small number of rooms. The remainder of the house had required a lot of work before it could open to the public. The house is full of paintings, far too many to take in at a single visit. Rooms ranged from the library in many shades of brown to the White Bedroom. As is so often the case, one is left thinking that no-one should be that rich, but at the same time marvelling that such houses have been created and survived. I guess there’s an element of karma, since, as one of the NT guides said, it seemed that there was a streak of madness in the family.
The grounds are extensive – the kitchen garden is an awful long way from the house, which doesn’t seem to be the best bit of design, but for the visitor today it provides an enticing goal for a walk, with an ice-cream at a shady table as a reward.
No Piddle tonight – but there is a Hunter’s Moon
I had decided that the Piddle Inn looked a good target for an evening meal and overnight stay – it would have been worth it just for the name, and it also promised a river-side setting (the River Piddle of course). It wasn’t to be – on a Saturday evening there was too much going on in the car park for us to make an attempt to get the motorhome in there. Not far away was the Hunter’s Moon, an excellent and welcoming pub, albeit that our parking place was rather close to the road.