A little ghost hunting trip to Clophill

After years of talking about it, finally my friend and I made the journey to the small Bedfordshire village of Clophill in search of the infamous Church of St Mary the Virgin.

It’s not the first time I’d visited that particular location, but my previous trip was so long ago I can scarcely remember.  

With two cars loaded down with kids and picnics, we traveled the short distance and headed for the Church.  

Having left the sanctuary of my warm/dry car, we got half way up the hill when the heavens opened. I don’t just mean a little rain, it was torrential and of course we had no coats and only one umbrella. Hunkering down in some non-water-resistant bushes, we waited out the storm and eventually it eased off enough for us to continue.

Awaiting us, at the top of the hill,  were the ruins of the derelict old church. With the rain still coming down, the beauty of the surrounding countryside seemed deadened by dreariness. The ruins stood in a melancholy, desolate state, and seemed pleased to have some visitors on such a dismal day.

For a while we took shelter inside what’s left of the tower, but with no roof, it bestowed little shelter. Determined to make the most of our trip, we scouted the location and took plenty of photographs. 

The church is more renowned for attracting devil-worshipers than spirits, but aside from the expected graffiti, we felt the church was undeserving of such a dark reputation. Bright wild flowers, and butterflies decorated the long forgotten graveyard, and the kids played hide and seek in the long/wet grass.

This time our visit was cut short due to the persistent rain, but we will go back, and unpack our picnics on the meadow, which promises such wonderful views. Or perhaps we’ll save our next trip to a more atmospheric time of year, and see if the church is indeed deserving of its reputation.

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A time for contemporary and a time for tradition

Living in the centre of a large modern city does have its advantages; on Friday night after a lovely meal out in town, we stopped at a local bar for a nightcap to break the walk home.  Sitting by the window facing the plaza I couldn’t help watching the people in their apartments going about their evenings. There is something about people watching, it’s completely hypnotic.

As the evening progressed we noticed the rain had begun to fall. When you are so close to home it seems ridiculous to order a cab for what would be a ten minute walk, so we decided to brave the rain. By the time we got home we were soaked through. My hair had matted itself into huge tangles and my makeup was fast heading southwards. Luckily it was on the way home not on the way out. PJs and a hot drink proved the perfect remedy.

Today, on the other hand, the weather was beautiful. We had to get out of town so we checked out the map and headed for the Grand Union Canal. We opted for a route that would take us to several lakes used locally for fishing. We never quite made the lakes though, because this is what we stumbled upon:

St Peter’s Church, Stanton Low is a grade II listed ruin of a c1100 church.  Unfortunately, having suffered from vandalism and neglect  the tiny ruin is too dangerous to enter. Surrounded by dry stone walls, graves can still be seen hidden among the undergrowth. I would have really loved to explore it further by have to respect the decision to keep it off-limits.

The tree that accompanies the church reminded me of ‘The tree of the dead’ from the film – Sleepy Hollow.

We then headed further along the Grand Union Canal, dipping in and out of the woods as we walked. Our journey ended with a pint or two at The Black Horse, Great Linford – one of the most stunning, traditional pubs you can imagine. It is all oak beams and candlelight.  A lovely way to end a November weekend.