AFTER a week of being housebound with germs, getting outside at the weekend was a must.
A chance to blow off some cobwebs.
A chance to visit somewhere we’ve never been.
(Even though it’s practically right on our doorstep.)
Hidden away in a housing estate and in the middle of urban life as we now know it, not many people know about this little gem of a place.
And I’m actually pretty ashamed to admit it’s taken me so long to visit after living in the town for over ten years, because it really is quite something.
A historic treasure and a local one too. Peaceful, impressive and incredibly quiet.
I have a feeling if this priory was located in rural countryside, it would be packed out with people visiting, but as it was, bar a few teenagers exploring and one other family, the only other visitors were us and some birds.
Elsie loved it here. As I’d hoped she might!
(Pretty in pink, I think this could be my new favourite photo of her!)
Running around, exploring the old ruins…
and finding ‘treasures’ – namely feathers, stones and blackberries!
Proof as ever, that broken things can still bear the most beautiful fruit.
Funnily enough we’d been chatting about wanting to go blackberry picking just the night before, so when we came across them in a place we least expected, it made us all smile.
Especially my little lady.
Who knows? Maybe the monks sent us a subliminal message. (Local folklore is that the monks still make their presence felt around these parts!)
The ruins really are something to marvel at. As, the English Heritage description reads:
“The substantial ruins of a Cluniac monastery, with an unusually well-marked ground plan, an almost complete west range and a 15th-century gatehouse.”
There are steps to climb (carefully), doorways to walk through, arches, windows and even an impressive medieval drainage system. The best of its type in Europe apparently!
Yep, you learn something new every day.
Hidden behind houses and in the midst of industrial buildings, it is sadly a forgotten, overlooked treasure.
And yet, to me, this only adds to its charm.
As I walked around, breathing in that clean, crisp autumn air, I couldn’t help but think how gems are often found in the most unlikely of places.
I guess this is what makes things so precious. Or as Elsie kept saying on Saturday; “treasure!”
If you’re ever in these parts, I can thoroughly recommend you pop by for a wander.
The kids will love it, as will you.
Not only a really impressive example of life gone by, Monk Bretton Priory has some lovely hidden secrets we could all learn from today.
And as for that fresh air…well that’s not really anything like it is there?