Moesgard Viking Camp

Over the past year I’ve often thought about posting about viking camp life.
I have posted about Moesgard before, but this selection of photos are from this year. They are mainly of the camp itself and the beach and I hope you enjoy them.
To be honest I don’t think any major description is needed so I will just leave them for you to enjoy!

Anf if you enjoyed these, you may also like my post on Swimming with the Horses!

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Tewkesbury Abbey.

We stopped off in Tewkesbury recently, on our way to the Hrafnslith training weekend at the ATC in Cranbourne.
We’d stayed in Tewkesbury some years ago, and I’d always fancied returning there to have another wander round the Abbey and it’s grounds.

Tewkesbury Abbey.Officially known as The Abbey Church of St Mary the Virgin, Tewkesbury Abbey is in the English county of Gloucestershire, and is a former Benedictine monastery. It is thought to be one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in Britain; in simpler terms, it is a stunning Norman building!

Tewkesbury Abbey.The entrance to the grounds is through an ornate gateway. There is a coat of arms at the top of the gateway, but I cannot seem to find any information about whose they are. Any ideas?

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The  pathway to the Abbey entrance is lined by Yew trees.Pathway to entrance of Tewkesbury Abbey. Entrance of Tewkesbury Abbey.Once inside there is something to look at in every direction. The walls and ceiling have intricate carvings. When you think that these carvings were made over 800 years ago, without the advantages that modern labour saving techniques provide, I have to say that it is pretty impressive. Many of the carvings are on the walls and ceilings of the tombs that lie throughout the Abbey. One tip though if you do decide to visit; don’t forget to look up!

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There is a wonderful organ in the Abbey as well. The Milton Organ was originally built in 1631, but was bought by the Abbey in 1736.

The Milton Organ - Tewkesbury Abbey.The wooden carved stalls are in the choir of the Abbey.

The choir - Tewkesbury Abbey.There is also a modern bronze memorial plaque to Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales. Edward was the leader of the Lancastrian force that was defeated by Edward IV at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471 during the Wars of the Roses.

Memorial plaque to Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales.The Latin is translated as: “Here lies Edward, Prince of Wales, cruelly slain while but a youth, A.D. 1471, May 4th. Alas, the savagery of men. Thou art the sole light of thy mother, and thy last hope of thy race.” (W. G. Bannister, Tewkesbury Abbey, As It Was, and As It Is.)

The grounds of the Abbey are small, but are wonderfully peaceful to walk or sit in. Here are a few more of the photos I took while we were there.

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New Forest Wildlife Park.

While we where in the New Forest we decided to go visit the Wildlife Park near Ashurst. If you are looking for a chilled out way to spend an afternoon, then this is a great place to go see. The staff really know about the animals in the Park, and are so willing to share information. And if you really fancy getting up close and personal with the animals there is the ‘Keepers Experience’.

For us, the first stop was in the Butterfly house. The house is kept at quite a high temperature and humidity, and it played havoc with my camera…. the lens kept fogging over. Added to the speed that the butterflies were moving, so the photos are a little blurry.

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The otters were next. These guys are so much fun to watch. There were Giant, Eurasian and Asian otters. The funniest guys were the Asian otters. They live in family groups and chatter constantly to each other – especially at feeding time.

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The Eurasian otter (that’s the European one) apparently is a much more solitary animal. They are mostly active at twilight and in darkness, but you can see them here in the park at feeding time. They survive mainly on fish and small rodents and birds. In the UK numbers declined but are now on the increase due to protection and improvement in water quality.

Eurasian Otter.Also in the park are a pair of Giant otters. Akuri and Simuni (both male) are part of an international breeding programme for this endangered otter whose numbers are still decreasing in the wild. Giant otters are the largest and rarest of all the otters in the world found only in the Amazon, Orinoco and La Plata rivers of South America. These large animals can eat up to 4 kg of fish each per day, they also eat crustacean, snakes and other small river animals.

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We followed the path through the park. It’s well sign posted and on thing I noticed was the number of owls here, of all breeds and sizes. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of them. Good reason to go back!

The next residents we met up with were the fallow deer in the deer enclosure.

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The little doe, Dottie, was a real little dote. Apparently had been raised and bottle fed as a fawn, so she was particularly attached to humans. She followed us around like a little pet, and got very friendly with Bob; if you visit, be aware she has a tendency to try to suck your clothes though (and shoe laces, camera straps, shirt ends……….)!

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And then the highlight of the day for us – the European Bison. These huge bison, also called the Wisent, are the largest and one of the rarest land mammals in Europe. The bison once roamed in millions, from Spain all the way to the Ural Mountains and the Caucasus, and as far north as Sweden. They had an important role in the formation of the prehistoric European broad-leaved and forested steppe ecosystems. However, by the end of the 19th century, there were only two populations of European bison left in the wild: in Bialowieza Forest (B.b bonasus) and in the West-Caucasus Mountains (B.b.caucasicus). The last European bison in Bialowieza forest died in 1919 and the last bison in the wild in Europe died in the Caucasus in 1927.
They are now being introduced back into the wild through the Rewilding Europe Programme.The wildlife park has three bison bulls that are part of the Rewilding project. Incidentally these guys came from Fota Island Wildlife Park‎ near Cork in Ireland. I have to say we had met one of the keepers during the otter feeding, and after a wonderfully informative conversation with him (Jason), we met again at the bison/red deer pen and he really added to the whole experience. Huge thanks!!!!

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In the same enclosure as the bison are the Red Deer.

European Bison and Red Deer.I have always loved this regal animal. They truly are the Monarch of the Glen…….. or in this case the Monarch of the Park. The Red Deer are the largest land animal in the UK. They are social animals living in male or female groups coming together for breeding during the annual rut. A stag can weigh between 160 – 240kg and the hind weighs around 120 to 170kg.
The male’s magnificent antlers grow in spring each year only to be shed during the following winter. Apparently you can put an age on the stag by counting the points on an antler.

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I have to say the Red Deer and European Bison were the highlight of our visits, but there was much more to see. Among this were wallabies, wild cats, lynx, wild cats and wolves on sight, but the park has many more animals to see – but seeing them depends on the time of the day/year you visit. When you go to a wildlife park like this, you always have to remember that animals don’t appear on demand…….. they are naturally scared of people – even if they are in a wildlife park. A full list of the animals on the site can be found on the Park website.
Here are a few of the photos of the other animals we saw.

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If you happen to find yourself anywhere near the New Forest, The Wildlife Park is well worth a visit. And for the kids it has probably the best adventure playground I have ever seen! The park is not a charity and depends on the entrance fees for day to day running. Money well spent! And if you fancy it, you can adopt an animal and help with the upkeep of your chosen animal for six months or a year!! Now that would be a great present to the other half………………