Heritage Open Days in Cold Ash to provide last chance to discover village's attractions

Published: 28 Aug 2013 12:000 comments

A LAST opportunity to visit some of Cold Ash's attractions is among the highlights in the village's first foray into Heritage Open Days.

With St Gabriel's Convent and the Cold Ash Centre, both in The Ridge, facing an uncertain future the open days on the weekend of 14-15 September offer the chance to take in these buildings for possibly the last time.

Visitors can choose whether to pop into the event's venues or take part in a formal heritage trail starting at the Fisher Room.

The open days' promoter Fred Davison is keeping his cards close to his chest when it comes to revealing some of the information that participants will discover over the course of the weekend.

Those attending the free event will learn which famous Prime Minister spent his honeymoon in the village, which British painter is buried in Cold Ash and the identity of the former residents who created history in air balloons.

Dr Davison, a retired scientist, said: "People will learn an awful lot about the village and its history. I think it will be a really good day out for the family, weather permitting!"

Visitors are invited to take in St Mark's Church and Fisher Room which was built in 1864-65 and is the highest church in the whole of Berkshire at 500ft above sea level.

From the church's vantage point it's possible to see neighbouring Hampshire and even Wiltshire and Dr Davison described the sight as 'beautiful'.

Children can look for 'mice' in St Mark's and the chapel and gardens at St Gabriel's Convent are also open to the public.

St Gabriel's is in line to be demolished for housing at an unknown date which has been pushed back due to there being 10-15 Sisters living and working in the chapel.

Dr Davison said the move has caused some consternation among the villagers but its attractive qualities can be admired for the time being.

Visitors can also visit St Finian's School, Cold Ash Centre and mini-farm to meet the wide range of animals there and there will be plenty of photo displays which show the village through the ages.

There will be a family quiz on the trail and other family activities from 2-5pm on Saturday and Sunday. Tours of Cold Ash Centre only take place on Sunday from 3pm and voluntary donations to help cover costs can be made at www.findmeagrant.org/wberks/

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