Newstead Abbey – Nottingham, England
As your train leaves the platform you must step onto a paved road that seemed it seen better days. In one direction it leads to Newstead, a quaint village roughly ten miles from Nottingham and in the other Sherwood Forest. Station Avenue leads you through the forest to find the medieval Newstead Abbey. A splendid display of Gothic beauty, Newstead Abbey stands at the edge of Sherwood Forest in Nottingham, England. Founded as an Augustinian cloister in 1170 by Henry II, it grew in fame under the ownership of Lord George Gordon Byron in 1540. Newstead Abbey stands now as a romantic reminder of the dedicated lives that passed through it’s doors.
The distance is little over a mile and could be driven, but for the walk is much more enjoyable. It is a slow pace on level ground. As you travel the road you can witness time slowly drifting away with each landmark. At first structures hint of new life and growth, but the long fields and gnarled trees speak of another time. There are few homes along the way and a couple weathered farms. Then ever so cleverly you are led amongst the ancient trees on a path a bit darker and more worn than before.
Once you emerge the fields have been replaced by the Upper Lake and the first glimpses of your destination. Following the lake, you will find remnants of two scaled down forts. These were built by Lord Byron, who enjoyed pretending to have great naval battles on a miniature scale. As you continue on toward the Abbey your paved road molds into historic parkland. All together, the Abbey and grounds cover about 300 hundred acres with lakes, waterfalls, ponds, and magnificent gardens.
Newstead Abbey is available year round, but should you wish to see inside the house you will need to come between April and September. When you do visit, plan to make a day of it; possibly two. The gardens alone can take an entire day to to investigate. Take time to do a little research on Newstead Abbey’s history before you arrive. It will help you to understand Lord Byron’s eccentric ways and lead to finding hidden treasures placed all along the grounds. Keep an eye out for friendly peafowl and deer along your way, as they are very familiar with guests.