The Quest for The Woodhouse

Trip Start Jun 17, 2013
Trip End Jun 29, 2013

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Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Saturday, June 22, 2013

On Saturday, we next drove to Oswestry looking for "The Woodhouse" in Wales. This is the childhood home of Fanny Owen, Charles Darwin's first love. She was a good friend of his sister. Charles and Fanny seem to have had a deep relationship or a teenage fling, depending on who you read. In any case, the letters just came online very recently.

The home is still in the hands of her family, and there was no way to contact it ahead of time. We went to Tourist Information in Oswestry and asked for directions to The Woodhouse. The ladies working were stumped but very interested. They were bound and determined to find it, and I was flattered that they took my word for it. They worked for a half hour (while I shopped) and found it on a topo map. Once they found that, one called a friend who farmed in the area. She said she had never seen the house, and that the owners kept very much to themselves. The house is completely surounded by trees (hence the name), and this has only increased over time. Soon after that conversation was over, the neighbor called back with the number of the NEXT door neighbor to The Woodhouse.

The wonderful ladies at the Tourist Information called the next door neighbor (who they didn't know) and got the full scoop for us. The house was closed to the public and even the next door neighbor had never seen it. They could tell us how to get to the gate, that it had a security system, and that they did not want anyone on their property. The next door neighbor said they would "set the dogs on us," but I don't know if that was serious. I had read an article about the house in a Welsh magazine, but even that only had a picture of the gate.

So we drove down a small road and found the driveway. We never would have found it without the help of the Tourist Information ladies and a topo map we bought there. We turned down the driveway and had a short drive to the gate, which, as advertised, was locked with a security camera. You could barely see a brick structure through some of the trees, and according to the topo map, that was The Woodhouse." I could take pictures of the countryside around it, which no doubt Darwin would have seen.

I have been frustrated taking countryside shots. The roads are extremely narrow and curvy. There are very few places to pull off, and usually someone right on our bumper when we find one. Jan is doing great driving, but we're just not as fast as the natives want us to be sometimes.
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Shelly McDonald on

Beautiful pictures

Terry B on

OH! SO BEAUTIFUL!!! i wonder who lives there? some American Corporate Executive probably lol

The trees!!! GORgeous!! So Erasmus was born Welsh?

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