Last night we moored at Ashton after enjoying a lovely, sunny, cruising afternoon from Islip. Once settled in the quiet mill arm above the lock we walked across the footpaths to the Estate Village of Ashton.
Ashton is owned by the Rothschild family and has been since 1860. It was re-built in 1900 by Charles Rothschild for estate workers and was known as a model farm settlement. The village cottages are local stone and thatched. Most of the buildings in the village are Grade II listed. They have the same colour front doors, uniform names on the gates, and even matching shepherd hut sheds in the back gardens.
The roadside verges and chapel grounds are meadow like, not mown and full of wild flowers. This reflects the interests of Charles Rothschild who was behind the development and whilst his money may have come from banking, his great interest was as a natural historian passionate about insects.
The village Inn, the Chequered Skipper, is beside the village green with the estate workers cottages all around, and peacocks strutting up and down the street sounding out their raucous cry.
Ashton hosts the World Conker Championships each year in October. There are plenty of Horse Chestnut trees in the village to ensure a good supply of conkers to use.
It all made for a very quaint English experience, all the more special in the warm summery evening light.