Day 11 - East of Sheffield (Tuesday July 2nd)
For our last full day in England, we stayed close to home, or at least close to Sheffield. We hit four very interesting sites today and were never farther than 20 miles from Sheffield. First was Newstead Abbey that was founded in - yawn - 1163. It's also the ancestral home of Lord Byron and where his beloved Newfoundland dog is buried (the thing on the right side in my second picture is his tomb & epitaph). The grounds were a great place to stroll, even on a chilly July day.
We then drove towards Sherwood Forest (yes, that one) through the small town of Blidsworth. We didn't stop, but later read that Robin Hood's sidekick is buried there. Or maybe the purported Robin Hood's purported sidekick may be buried there. Fact & fiction blend together in this area. This area is so rich in history that we just drove right by Rufford Abbey without stopping. Sherwood Forest, or what's left, is pretty kitschy and is the place all the local school kids get sick of taking field trips. We took a stroll out to the 'Major Oak' that may, or may not, be 1100 years old. They won't know until it dies, and they are doing everything they can to keep it alive!
This new stuff was getting to us, so we drove to Creswell Crags - a limestone gorge with evidence of human habitation dating back almost 40,000 years. It was neat to walk around, but the caves were open for weekend tours only. I took many pictures of the inside of dark caves and they are about as interesting as they sound.
Roche Abbey was the last of our spots for the day. It's another nice ruined abbey (like the castle ruins, we never got tired of the abbey ruins) dating from 1147. It was 'closed', but there are several public walking trails all around it and there was just a short wire fence between us and the ruins. So no climbing on them, but plenty to look at.
After those 4 sites, we got stuck (and lost) in rush-hour traffic heading back into Sheffield. We had a last-minute tour through the University area and hit a few last pubs - The Wick at Both Ends, The Bath Hotel, and The Devonshire Cat (Dev-Cat to the hip).
Newstead Abbey (and the dog poem)