EUC Annual Outing & Reunion

Every summer in June Exeter University Club members and their families and friends meet up to enjoy a day, or longer, filled with talking, eating, walking and exploring new places. All generally accompanied by much laughter and a bit of reminiscing!

Outing to Hever Castle

As a rule, over 50 of us manage to get together for at least a day out in the country. Recent venues have included Dyrham Park near Bristol, Hever Castle on the borders of Kent, Surrey and Sussex, Longleat House and Safari Park in Wiltshire, Waddesdon Manor near Aylesbury, Buscot Park near Faringdon in Oxfordshire, Upton House near Banbury, Hughenden in Buckinghamshire, Lacock in Wiltshire and Canon’s Ashby in Northampton shire.

Lunch at Hever Castle

The event usually starts with a picnic lunch and then we choose what we want to do during the afternoon, options allow for the energetic of all ages as well as for those who prefer a relaxed approach. Maybe a walk, a tour of a historic house, possibly some gardens – at their best in June – and of course a place for afternoon tea. We all meet up again at a local hotel  for an evening meal. We now call the Annual Outing the EUC Annual Outing & Reunion, which includes  over- night stays to enjoy the local area.


EUC Annual Outing & Reunion 12-14 June 2018 


We invite you to join us at the EUC Annual Outing & Reunion taking place from 12th to 14th June. Please do your best to support us. This year the event is midweek, as it was last year. It is easier to manage both accommodation and travelling this way.

The Annual Outing is to Montacute House (NT) near Yeovil, Somerset on Wednesday June 13th. This is being organised by Rolf Holstein, and he has sent out information about the Outing to our EUC branch secretaries. As described in the NT handbook: Built out of golden Ham stone, it commands a central position in the picturesque village sharing its name. A beacon of Elizabethan pomp and style. It contains oak-panelled rooms, tapestries, samplers and Britain’s longest remaining Long Gallery. Sir Edward Phelips, a wealthy ambitious lawyer and MP, built this grand mansion to advertise his lofty position and success. Now over 400 years later, he may well have enjoyed the fact that it featured in BBC’s acclaimed drama Wolf Hall. The surrounding grounds are also worth a look. As in previous years, we will start with a picnic before exploring the house and grounds.

Derek Smith and Ann Paddon are organising the Wednesday evening dinner, the hotel B&B accommodation and the Reunion events on Tuesday and Thursday. All of you are welcome to attend everything or just one or more of the events during the Reunion. It is a really friendly occasion, come to meet old friends or to make new ones. Full details will be sent out shortly, here is a summary.

Annual Outing Dinner, Wednesday 13th June

This will be held at the Yeovil Court Hotel. We have booked a private room for the evening dinner and look forward to seeing you there. The cost of a two-course meal will be around £20 or three courses for about £26. The menu will be available nearer the time.


We have also arranged to stay at the Yeovil Court Hotel. We have made a provisional booking for 22 single and double rooms for each of the nights of 12th, 13th & 14th, which will be held until mid-May. Please phone the hotel on 01935 863746 to book and tell them what type of room you want.

Reunion events on Tuesday 12th and Thursday 14th June

We are working on various possibilities. To give you a flavour of the area: there are a number of other local NT properties, such as Lytes Cary Manor, Barrington Court, and the quite small but delightful Tintinhull Garden. The interesting town of Sherborne with its Abbey and the two Sherborne castles is not far away. Different sorts of attraction are the Fleet Air Arm Museum and the Haynes Motor Museum, the largest in Europe we hear. As always you are free to chose what you would like to do. If you need a lift from the hotel to visit these venues contact Ann or Derek.

Full details have been issued to EUC branch secretaries and to members who have supported us in previous years. If you need information contact:-

Rolf Holstein

Ann Paddon

Derek Smith

We look forward to meeting you in mid-June.



Exeter University Club (EUC) Annual Outing at Canons Ashby, on Wednesday 28 June 2017 and reunion activities nearby on Tuesday 27 June and Thursday 29 June 2017


The 2017 Annual Outing will take place on Wednesday 28 June at Canons Ashby, a National Trust (NT) property in Northamptonshire, near Banbury. It has a tranquil Elizabethan manor house set in beautiful 18th century gardens. Built by the Drydens, using the remains of a medieval priory, the house and gardens have survived largely unaltered since 1710. The Dryden family owned the estate for 500 years and house and gardens are presented as they were during the time of Sir Henry Dryden, Victorian antiquary, so passionate about the past that when inheriting the estate at 19 years of age, he gave up his studies at Cambridge University and said he would not marry until the estate was put back in good order and out of debt. He achieved this over 20 years later, and got married at 46 years. The house features grand rooms and stunning tapestries, contrasting with the detail of the servants’ quarters, while a wander through the priory church reveals the story of the canons of Canons Ashby.

Visitors can also enjoy the formal gardens, restored back to their early style with topiary, a Victorian fernery, herbaceous borders and fruit and vegetable terraces. Have a look at the map at the end of this report to see the various aspects of the property.

As in previous years we start with a picnic at lunch time. This year we can use the overflow car park, located at no. 11 on the map, the use of which is reserved only for EUC up to 1 pm, so we can park our cars there and use it as a picnic area. To get to the overflow car park, drive though the main car park After 1 pm your cars can stay there but other visitors may use the overflow car park, if the main car park has filled up.

The EUC Annual Dinner will be held at the Holt Hotel, Steeple Aston. You may like to stay overnight, if so book directly with the hotel mentioning Exeter University Reunion to get the best price. Perhaps you would like to bookmark the dates June 27, 28 & 29. On Tuesday June 27th afternoon you could visit Rousham gardens, very close to the hotel. On Thursday 29th June, there will be a visit to Broughton Castle, not far away. I hope many of you will participate in all of these activities. 33 members have already agreed to participate. These other events are being organised by Ann Paddon and Derek Smith. Contact details are at the end of this report. This information is also in issues 69 and 70 of Branch Lines, and the EUC website.

This event is before the schools break up for their summer holidays so that we can avoid the peak visiting period to Canons Ashby and the surrounding area.

The address is: Canons Ashby House, near Daventry, Northamptonshire NN11 3SD. Location is 8 miles northeast of Banbury. More information is in the National Trust Handbook, page 235 (2016 edition), the website on , or by emailing or phoning 01327 861900.

A booking form is included with this note.

Directions: From M40 junction 11, take the A422 towards Brackley. Notice before the next roundabout there is a brown sign giving directions to Canons Ashby; then at the roundabout, follow the brown sign. Look out for further brown signs along the route. For those using sat. nav., enter NN11 3SD, but check beforehand that it leads you to the National Trust property. Alternatively, you may want to enter “Canons Ashby.”

Parking: 216 yards from NT entrance. Parking is free whether you are a NT member or not. Drive through the car park and the gate to the overflow car park is at the end with an EUC sign. There will be information to indicate where we can park and have our picnic. Buggy transport is available between the main car park and visitor reception. A limited number of wheelchairs are available; they must be booked beforehand – see booking form.

Public Transport: There is no suitable public transport to Canons Ashby. A bus service from Banbury to Woodford Halse, which is the nearest village, exists, but it is still 4 miles from Canons Ashby. The best option for non-car drivers is to find a member who is willing to take you by car. Alternatively get a taxi from Banbury railway station with an estimated cost of £25.

Admission times: The Stables tearoom, gardens, shop, church and parkland are open from 10.30 am to 5 pm. Toilets are also there. The house is open from 1 pm to 5 pm, but there are House Taster tours lasting 30 minutes from 11 am to 1 pm showing 3 rooms, tickets on arrival.

Entry Prices to House and Grounds: National Trust members get in free, if you bring your NT membership card. Also, children under 5 have free entry. Dogs are welcome on leads in car park, paddock, tea-garden and parkland only. Assistance dogs are welcome in all areas.

For others the group entry is £8.50. Entry for Children is £5.40.

Arrival Canons Ashby is an extremely popular venue, so we recommend that you arrive at the latest by 11.30 am to enable you to park your car in the overflow car park.

12 noon Onwards: Picnic lunch and entry to the NT property We start with our picnic on the picnic site – no. 11 on the map from 12 noon onwards, so please bring your chairs and luncheon. The site is 200 yards from the entrance to the house. Alternatively, there are refreshments the Stables tea room with tables inside and outside, where there are also toilets. To enter the NT property, you need to go to reception at the coach house – see no. 2 on the map which opens at 10.30 am. If you are a NT member, they will want to check your card. If not, you must mention that you are part of the EUC group. The office should have your names, which I have given them if you have paid me. Then leave the office on the RHS to explore the grounds and the house which open at 1 pm. For the disabled, see the notes on toilets and access as described below. There are wheelchairs for hire at the reception but they have to be booked beforehand.

Access Information:

The accessible toilet is in the outer area of the ladies toilet which is located opposite the main entrance to the house and next door to the Coach House shop and visitor reception. It is available for both ladies and gentlemen. The normal gents toilet is next door.

House: There are 7 steps to the house main entrance. The ground floor has steps with narrow and low doorways, uneven floors and small rooms with limited turning space. There are 2 main staircases with uneven steps and limited handrail assistance. Wheelchair access to the house is restricted to the great kitchen (via the Pebbled Court entrance) Motorised mobility scooters are not permitted into the house. There is no wheelchair access to the first floor or the cellar, but there is a 360 degree virtual tour of house which is available in the Great Hall.

Grounds: There are 4 steep steps into the garden with a handrail. There are grass lawns, loose gravel paths with a slight gradient, which may make it hard for wheeled transport to navigate, especially in wet weather. There are steps and grass to the lower terraces. There is one accessible picnic table in the Paddock area.

Tables Tearoom: There are 2 steps into the tearoom, there is a portable ramp available. There is a concrete path ramp into the tearoom garden.

To visit the Priory Church of St Mary: Please take care crossing the road. There is some fast traffic.

Other features: Visit the Coach house shop and plant centre. Many plants have been propagated and grown at Canons Ashby.

Other comments

This EUC event is insured by the University, and here are some extra comments.

Please wear sturdy shoes and suitable clothing for this event which is partly outdoors. Allow for rain. If you have walking difficulties, please note the points mentioned in this report.

If there is a lot of rain, there is unfortunately no overall wet weather accommodation. The Stables Tearoom is available and there is an awning outside, but you cannot consume your picnic there. So let’s hope we get some fine weather.

For any questions or problems, I am your main contact – my telephone number and on the day, my mobile number is on top of page 1 of this report. I am sure you will have an interesting and enjoyable day. I look forward to hearing from you. Please reply, using the booking form, before Monday 29 May.

Contact details for Ann Paddon and Derek Smith are: ,

Rolf Holstein

EUC Annual Outing on Saturday 28 June 2017 – Booking Form

Name(s) (please PRINT) _________________________________________________

Address (please PRINT) _________________________________________________

_____________________________________________ Postcode __________________

Telephone ___________________e-mail address: ____________________________

I/We will be attending the EUC Annual Outing to Canons Ashby on 28 June 2017

I/We have a car and can offer a lift to ______person(s)

I/We would like a lift please and will offer a contribution to fuel costs. YES / NO

Are you member(s) of the National Trust YES / NO Adults Children

Visit to Canons Ashby Number _____ _____

Only for the disabled:

Do you wish to have a wheelchair (no charge) YES / NO

Please return this page to:

Rolf Holstein 13 Kennet Way, Oakley, Basingstoke Hants RG23 7AA

by Monday 29 May at the latest with cheque payable to Rolf Holstein, with your entry cost of £______ if you are not a NT member.

Note 1: For non NT people to qualify for the group rate of £8.50 per person, I must make only one payment for all in our group beforehand. If you wish to pay independently the entry cost is £9.60.

Note 2: Even if you have nothing to pay, please return this page by 29 May, because we have to notify Canons Ashby the numbers of NT and non-NT members attending, well before 28 June.