Flying visit to Old Wardon

Today’s adventure was a visit to the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Wardon. It is a collection of old planes, and vehicles of several types on a country estate. It was a glorious day with clear blue skies and it got up to 20 degrees – warm enough to sit outside for our lunch.

Now for your history lesson. The Shuttleworth family lived on the Old Wardon estate with the son, Richard, being a car fanatic who won the first ever British Grande Prix at Donnington Park in 1935. He also loved anything mechanical and started a collection. He joined the RAF when the second world war broke out but sadly was killed in a training flight in 1940. His devastated mother, Dorothy Clotilda Shuttleworth, created a charitable trust so that the estate would be used for agriculture and aviation education. There, do you feel suitably informed?

So now there’s going to be something for everyone. Firstly, motorbikes – there were some great modern bikes in the car park as a group of bikers had called in, but we were there for the older type. Here’s a few that we saw.

Two old Norton’s – British bikes
A very old BSA bike

I could just see us in this – Ken on the bike with me and Bertie in the sidecar

Now of course the main attraction is the aeroplanes – they have regular flight display days. It’s really interesting reading the stories behind the planes and especially the stories of the flying boys in the war. When you look at the old planes you realise how brave (or crazy) the early pilots were as the aircraft look so flimsy.

There are lots of other things to see including cars (which Ken loved) a few tractors, and other various modes of transport including push bikes.

Lovely old Fergie
RAF staff car
I loved this display because if you look closely you’ll see three (fake) cats

This is a great old push bike – you sit side by side and each have a brake with the steering in the middle – Ken thought it looked like an accident waiting to happen

There are also interactive displays and parts of engines to look at. The first piccie is my beloved trying to create sparks.

It’s a great place to look around and you never know what you’re going to come across, like a 1902 Baby Peugeot – you can imagine the excitement of my Peugeot loving husband.

The other fab find for me was a De Havilland Chipmunk – this is the same type of plane that Ken went up in for an experience flight in 1972 after he’d joined the RAF and it was the first time he’d ever been up in the air. It was lovely hearing about this part of Ken’s life.

After our look round the hangers we stopped in the village of Old Wardon which is a proper chocolate box pretty village.

My favourite thing we saw in the village was this sign on someone’s gate post – humour is alive and well.

It was a lovely day out and would recommend it to anyone who loves history and planes. When we got home Ken decided to climb up on the car and pretend he was a supermodel – what do you think?

That’s it for now, so keep smiling, stay safe, and smile at more people today.

Pamela and Ken

P.S: Final picture is of a group of RAF pilots which made me stop and reflect on what may of happened to those men and whether or not any of them made it into old age. They look so serious, but I guess we would too faced with a war.

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