Wednesday, 2 June 2010

West Wycombe

One of the amazing Red Kites that are a familiar site all over West Wycombe.
At one stage in the early 20th Century they were almost extinct.
The reintroductions in The Chilterns have been a particular success. They really are a magnificent bird. Between 1989 and 1993 90 birds were released in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. By 2002, 139 pairs were breeding in the area, a real success story.

The unmistakable church of St Laurence perched high on West Wycombe Hill with the famous 'Golden Ball' at the top of the tower. Sunday worship at 11am each week.

It was a steep climb up the hill to the Mausoleum

The Dashwood Residence

A view of the Dashwood Mausoleum taken from the top of the Belltower at
St Laurence Church West Wycombe. It was a long climb up but well worth the
effort as youwill see from the other photos.

West Wycombe is a lovely, though tiny, village, comprised of a single high street of timber and flint buildings, on the outskirts of which sits the magnificent seat of the Dashwood family, the beautifully Palladian West Wycombe Park.

On the summit of the steep conical hill across the road from the house, is the immense Dashwood Mausoleum, behind which towers the strange golden ball that sits uneasily on top of the church of St Lawrence. Meanwhile, hewn out of the hillside beneath are a series of caves, reached via an entrance that has been fashioned to resemble a gothic church and which adds to the overall essence of eccentricity with which the overall estate seems to made up of.

The person responsible for all this was Sir Francis Dashwood (1708-1781), a man whose name has become a byword for hedonistic debauchery, and who is today best remembered as a leading light in the most infamous of all the so-called “Hell Fire” clubs.

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