18 February 2018
Countryside Views on the way to Basildon Park
At Basildon Park
Lower Basildon, Reading, Berkshire, RG8 9NR
NT Members free; Non Members discounted rate of £11 per person payable on the day
Organised by: Jeff and Lesley
Registration has closed
This year our Winter Run is to Basildon Park, near Reading.
The run is of approximately 30 miles along mainly ‘B’ and some single track roads which afford excellent views over the countryside en route. The overall journey should take just over an hour. If the weather is inclement on the day please feel free to join us in your ‘modern’ car.
We have a table reserved for Sunday lunch at 1.30 pm at the Spring Inn, Bath Road, Sudhampstead, Reading, RG7 5HP. See their website www.thespringinn. It is only a short drive of about 5 miles from the House. The Inn has a large car park and should be able to accommodate us comfortably in their restaurant.
We will meet at the Sainsburys Petrol Station, Blackwater Valley Road, Camberley, GU15 3YN on the A331 at 9.15am on Sunday, 18th February ready for a 9.30am start. There are the usual facilities available at the petrol station. Leaving at 9.30am should enable us to arrive at Basildon Park between 10.30 and 11.00 am which will provide us with plenty of time for refreshments in their cafe, to view the House and for a walk in the extensive parkland, weather permitting.
The house has a somewhat chequered history, it having originally been built in 1776 for Sir Francis Sykes, a wealthy trader with the East India Company and friend of Clive of India.
In later years the House was requisitioned both in the First and second World Wars by the British Government when it was used successively as a convalescent home, a billet for troops (with tank practice in the grounds) and a Prisoner of War Camp. Between the wars the house was purchased by an American who had a plan to move the house stone by stone to the USA. Fortunately, due to the economics of the time the plan fell through within a year and ownership passed on.
Since those times its recent history and claim to fame is primarily due to its remarkable rescue and preservation in the hands of the Iliffe family, who in the 1950s purchased the property and restored the house from an almost complete wreck to what it is today.
The House has extensive grounds of about 400 acres and today there are several designated walks ranging from half a mile to three miles depending on your preference. If we’re luck we may get a glimpse of the Snowdrops there. Entry to the House and Grounds is free to NT members and for non members there is a discounted rate of £11 per person payable on the day.