With many Trust properties now shut for at least the next month, I have hit a bit of a lull in my programme of visits. In light of this, I thought this would be a perfect time to summarise my progress so far.
I started the challenge towards the end of July and managed to visit 24 properties by the end of the year. I was aiming for 25 but fell one short in the end as my experiences at The Vyne convinced me to avoid exposure to the Christmas-ness of December visits! Still, 24 is good, solid groundwork and suggests that 50 in a year would not be out of the realms of possibility if I knuckle down and keep up the momentum. Not that it’s a chore that must be undertaken… far from it; I wouldn’t be doing this if I wasn’t enjoying it and I can honestly say that it’s ‘so far so fab’.
So, to summarise my progress to date. I’ve visited 24 properties in 2 countries, covering 16 counties and making a start on 6 of the Trust’s 9 regions. Not bad for just over five months.
My own region – South East – has been the most important, with 9 visits in this region, compared with 6 in South West, 3 in East of England and 2 each in London, Midlands and Wales. In terms of counties covered, I have visited 3 properties in each of Suffolk, Surrey and Gloucestershire, plus 2 in Dorset, 2 in London and 1 each in Hampshire, Staffordshire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, West Sussex, Kent, Wiltshire, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. Phew!
The furthest north I have reached is Kinver Edge & Rock Houses in Staffordshire, while Max Gate is the furthest south (just pipping Monk’s House in East Sussex). The Tudor Merchant’s House in Tenby wins hands down as my most westerly point, while Sutton Hoo is the most easterly. I’ve decided I need to push further north so I’m planning a week’s break in the Lake District in the spring, with a view to ticking off Cumbria in one ‘fell’ swoop!
All in all, I’m looking forward to whatever comes next (possibly the Bath Assembly Rooms if plans for a trip next weekend are finalised), so watch this space!
A bit of housekeeping…
Having received the new Handbook for 2014, there are a number of changes made to my list. The names of several properties have been altered slightly so I have made the relevant changes to these. This includes Sutton House & Breaker’s Yard, which has now lost all mention of the Breaker’s Yard, presumably due to the continued archaeological dig in what was due to become said yard!
In addition, some of the properties I previously had as ‘Extras’ now qualify for the main list in their own right, while some went the other way and now only warrant minor entries in the Handbook; in general, though, I have kept these as being worth a visit. Three properties that weren’t on my list at all have now been given fuller entries in the Handbook and therefore join the list, so that’s boosted the numbers a little. I have actually now removed the ‘Extras’ designation completely and have incorporated these properties into the alphabetical listings by county.
There has also been one ‘merger’, with the random extra buildings in the Killerton Estate now counting as one rather than three properties (which brings the numbers down a little again!)
One totally new addition to the Handbook this year is Eyam Hall & Craft Centre in Derbyshire so that joins the list.
Meanwhile, there have been a couple of removals: Holy Jesus Hospital in Tyne & Wear has disappeared from the Handbook completely, while Woodchester Park in Gloucestershire has been changed from a triangle designating Buildings & Gardens to a block showing Coast & Countryside so that has also been removed from the challenge.
So, what does all this mean for the numbers? Well, the list seems to have gone from 257 properties to… 257 properties! So there is absolutely no change at all to the total target.