The Chateau Impney Hotel has always been my fairy castle. When Rod and I were courting back in 1973 he would drive me, in his red VW Beetle, back to my home in Birmingham from Gloucestershire at night. At one point the Chateau Impney Hotel could be see from the motorway as it was lit up at night giving it the appearance of a fairy castle. The one hour’s drive back to my parents home was highlighted by the view of ‘my’ fairy castle and the inevitable discussion of one day staying there.Time went on and one day the subject of the Chateau came up in conversation and we thought why not go there for our wedding anniversary; our house was soon going on the market and when we moved further south it could possibly mean not realising my dream.Last year for our 37th wedding anniversary our daughters clubbed together and paid for a room for us as a present. To make the event even more nostalgic one of our daughters loaned us her silver VW Beetle, her pride and joy! This Beetle is one of the last 300 plus made and has a numbered plaque on the dashboard to record this information. Yes there are newer versions of the VW Beetle but this silver one is the real McCoy! (Shelly if you look closely at the top photo in the bottom left hand corner you will see the Beetle).The Chateau Impney really is a fairy castle and you can have a feel for the splendour of the building when you step inside even though more modern additions have been added to the original and there was never a hotel reception desk in the Chateau! The grand sweeping staircase of solid wood is sill there though and if you have a good imagination you can ‘see’ the elegant ladies in their beautiful gowns descending that magnificent staircase.
The Chateau Impney was built by a chap who made his money from salt mines. He visited France and fell in love with a French governess. They both admired the chateaux of Versailles and he decided to build his own château for him and his wife. The Chateau is surrounded by 150 acres of land in a parkland style with large trees dotted around and lovely lattice style bridges over the many streams. Immediately around the Chateau are formal gardens; one garden (seen above to the left of the road) contains a ‘canal’ with a fountain, a little further along is a small bridge over an equally small stream. To the front of the Chateau is a set of stone steps with more formal gardens leading to a large ornate fountain. During the 1800s fountains, canals and streams were still very much in vogue in the gardens of the wealthy; water features were a status symbol.
Standing by the fountain gives a view across parkland to the road. Much of the parkland is now home to grazing animals – sheep, horses and cattle – it would be far too costly these days to hire grass mowers but during the heyday of the chateau labour would have been plentiful and cheap.
I have no idea what breed of sheep these are, they certainly all looked content and well fed!
Just for you Shelly!!!!