I think we all enjoyed the splendid weather, healthy walk and good company at Gosford Forest Park on Thursday, 27 October 2011. Before setting out, tea and coffee was served with shortcake and biscuits at the Girl Guide house. Splitting into two groups, our party followed the perimeter of the Gosford estate with a short detour to enjoy the sight of the deer herd. The forest is ideal for walks as it offers a range of routes and distances with the romantic Norman Revival style castle and a marvellous arboretum. If you find the drive to Markethill a little tedious, you might like to rent a self-catering apartment at the castle for your next visit.
The castle, completed in the 1850s, was commissioned by Archibald Acheson, 2nd Earl of Gosford and designed in the by Thomas Hopper, the London architect. The building work was funded by Archibald's wealthy English wife who may not have been too pleased with the castle as a home - apparently she never lived in it.
Up until our arrival, Gosford's most famous visitor had been Dean Swift, house guest on many occasions of Sir Arthur Acheson, great-grandfather of the 2nd Earl - you can read more about Swift's exploits in Armagh if you click here.. He is commemorated in Gosford with Dean Swift's well.
After the walk, we sat down to a choice of delicious soups served with rolls and wheaten bread, followed by apple pies and cream. Most of us found a single slice of pie to be sufficient but a few individuals couldn't resist a second slice with just a tiny smidgeon of cream on the side.
Cedars Walking Group Members were as generous as ever with their donations - a total of £950 was raised for Marie Curie Cancer Care on the day of the walk and more is expected. Congratulations and thanks are due to everyone who contributed in terms of time, effort, food and gifts.
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We will leave Jethro Centre on the morning of walks at 10:00am unless otherwise agreed. Planned walks may change right up to the last minute. If travelling directly to the start point sign up for John's text messaging service to stay up to date.
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