|Two walkers approaching Newstead Abbey from the south|
On Monday I travelled to Newstead Abbey between Mansfield and Nottingham. Once there was a priory there - founded by King Henry II in the late twelfth century. It was inhabited by a small band of Augustinian monks.
It remained a religious retreat for three hundred and seventy years until King Henry VIII ordered the dissolution of the monasteries. Newstead Abbey was then reduced to ruins.
Later the estate fell into the hands of the noble Byron family and an impressive country residence rose from the abbey's ruins. At great expense it was landscaped in the early eighteenth century before once again succumbing to neglect.
|Newstead Abbey and an oak tree planted by Lord Byron|
At the end of the eighteenth century, the estate was inherited by a child who would later become one of England's most famous poets. He was George Gordon Byron - more commonly known as Lord Byron - born in 1788 he died in Greece in 1824.
|"The Fort" stable block and The Upper Lake|
Byron loved Newstead though he did not live there for very long. It is said that he hosted some wild parties in the old house but it soon became something of a financial millstone around his neck.
|Garden statue detail|
I walked around the lakes and into the surrounding countryside on another diamond day. And when I had had enough of exploring I went into the estate's little cafe and ordered a pot of tea which I drank on a sunny terrace with only a peacock for company.