On Sunday 9th September Chicheley Hall, owned by The Royal Society, hold a Heritage Open Day – a special event attended by “Cranfield University Walks“. Our walking society was represented by Cranfield University staff and students that come from different parts of the world: including UK, Malaysia, Italy, Dominica, China, Ecuador and Czech Republic.
Chicheley Hall lies circa 6km from Cranfield University in north-easterly direction. It provides a perfect opportunity for a lovely countryside walk between these two locations, using a network of public footpaths. The walk to Chicheley Hall took us under 2 hours in blazing sunshine. In North Crawley we were delighted to be joined by Angela who runs a farm shop at Lodge Farm. And let’s not forget the true Jane Austin moment where at one point Chicheley Hall emerges on the horizon as you walk through a small woodland not far from the final destination. Following our arrival in the beautiful grounds of Chicheley Hall and its manicured lawns, we joined other visitors for a special guided tour by Sir Peter Knight. We’ve learned about the history of the Hall and the current work of the Royal Society. We had a peak into what are now guests’ bedrooms, including a bridal suite. Next amazing afternoon tea in the gardens was awaiting us – with lots of delicious cakes!-) We then explored the grounds: visiting a historical dovecote and amazing dinosaur sculptures in one corner of the gardens, before setting off on a walk back to the university. A quick stop at North Crawley in a local pub for a drink energised us for the last leg of the journey via working stables across the fields back to Cranfield campus. We just made it before sunset. What a fabulous day it was – and a very special indeed, given the Chicheley Hall opens its doors to the public only once a year.
We would like to thank Sir Peter Knight for the very warm welcome Cranfield University students received at Chicheley Hall.
Special thank you also goes to Royal Society’ staff who made our visit to the Chicheley Hall this year possible: Rebecca, Helle, and Tom.