- Environmental Education and Wildlife
- Sled Dog Racing
- Community Farms and Small Holdings
- Camper Van Adventures
- Sailing Adventures
- Shetland Islands
- Cumbria and the Lake District
- Republic of Ireland
- Northern Ireland
- South West
- South East
- Channel Islands
- East Anglia
- North West
- North East
- South Wales
- Mid Wales
- North Wales and Anglesey
- Scottish Highlands and Islands
- Mainland Scotland
Beacon-Building and Beacon-Watching
We were excited to find that a few Jubilee beacons would be lit near where we live and that help was needed to build them on the Sunday of the Jubilee Weekend. “Would you like to go and help build a beacon, James?” “What’s a beacon, Mummy?”
“It’s a big bonfire, James. We’ll build it and then light it to say Happy Anniversary to the Queen!”
“Well, I’m not sure that’s a very good idea, Mummy. Fire can be very dangerous, you know!”
Having promised our little Fire Prevention Officer that we would all be very good, we set out, in driving rain, to help build a beacon at Faringdon Folly. It’s about a 10-minute walk up the hill from the road. When we got to the top of the hill we could find no sign of people busily constructing a beacon, so we decided to go in the Folly and ask. The nice lady at the bottom of the tower said that she didn’t know about the beacon, but that she was sure her friend, who was at the top, would know.
Well, we reasoned, even if she doesn’t know, we’ll be able to see it from the top! So, we climbed the tower (154 steps) and finally learned that at the last minute the beacon-building had been postponed until the following day because of the torrential rain!
This really didn’t matter because we found that the Folly was quite an interesting place, and the view from the top – of a green, pleasant and extremely wet land – was great. It was built by Lord Berners – a rather eccentric character who, amongst other things, painted his pigeons pink. Completed in 1935, it’s believed to be the last Folly to be built in England. It’s also suggested that this is Britain’s only inland lighthouse, but we know of at least one other (answers on a postcard please…)
The surrounding woodland was also a great place to explore, with plenty of interest for young historians. Oliver Cromwell based a camp on Folly Hill during the English Civil War and James was intrigued by the cannon (chainsaw art).
As for the beacon-lighting itself at 10:01pm on the Monday night, we went to the one at Uffington Castle near the White Horse. It was all very good-natured and pleasantly un-regimented – which somehow made it all the more British! And in the distance, we saw the blaze from the one at Faringdon Folly so it obviously got built in the end!