Wednesday, 22 January 2014

22nd January 2014. Baginton Browse. 20

Had a ride out today to a village I have not visited before, Baginton, just south of Coventry.  It's less than 10 miles from home so a nice trip out on a winter afternoon. Out to Leamington, Cubbington, Stareton, Baginton and Stoneleigh, back through Kenilworth.

My old school

Leamington College for Boys. Built in 1847 as a private school, it was taken over by Warwickshire County Council in 1920 as a grammar school. It closed as a college in 1979 and became an annex for North Leamington School. It has now been sold and redeveloped as a retirement village and complex, due to be opened soon. I was there from 1954-59. It was a good school under Fred Williamson, the headmaster. Oh to have the chance again!!

Tantara Lodge Stoneleigh

This lodge, on the edge of Stoneleigh Deer Park, was built in the late 1700s as a lodge/folly. It is a grade 2 listed building. There is a record of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert passing through here, in 
1858, on their way to a reception at Stoneleigh Abbey. It is now privately owned and has been let as a holiday home.

Coventry Airport

Entering Baginton Village from the Leamington side is the Airfield.  3 miles SE of Coventry, it was opened in 1936 as a commercial aerodrome. During WW2, it was a base for fighter aircraft. In 1982, Pope John Paul celebrated mass here in front of 350,000 people. This was his only visit to the UK. In the mid 90s, it was also the centre of massive animal rights protest at the transportation of live calves to the continent for veal production. It did make a bid for full scale passenger transportation with a new terminal, but this was turned down by the high court. It is still used for commercial flights on a small scale.

Baginton Oak

This ancient Oak tree is believed to be 300/350 years old and may well be the oldest tree in Warwickshire. The local Oak Inn takes its name from the tree.

Roman Fort

In Baginton village is the site of an ancient roman fort. Called the Lunt Fort, the gateway has been totally reconstructed by a team of Army Engineers using the tools and techniques available 2000 years ago. As well as the fort, a roman barn has been constructed. The site is well used by local schoolchildren studying history.

A good ride today, on new ground. 20.5 miles in total.

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