It resembles a man, but is surrounded by leaves or other plant life. It may have branches or vines protruding from its mouth or nose. It is seen on different pub signs and as grotesques on buildings or churches. What is it? It is the Green Man.
Although it can be seen in other cultures, the Green Man can be spotted around England. There are at least three Green Man Pubs in London and more are elsewhere. Several colleges at Oxford have the symbol on a door or as a grotesque on the side of a building. Churches and cathedrals in different counties have the Green Man decorating their edifice.
Although the true meaning may be unknown, there are many theories about it. Some see the Green Man as a symbol of rebirth or growth in spring. Others see it as a symbol of man’s reliance on nature. Another theory is it is a reminder that death awaits us all. One Christian interpretation is that the foliage coming from the mouth represents the life giving breath of the Holy Spirit. Other ideas about the meaning exist as well.
Whatever their meaning or purpose, they are interesting to find. Look them up on the web and see where some of them are located. This site lists some locations: click here. If you are planning a trip to one of these areas, stop in and find one.
York can be an expensive city to visit. One alternative that is less expensive, but still within the old city walls is the Student Castle York University. I booked it through University Rooms website.
I have stayed at York University before booking through University Rooms. However, previously I stayed on their main campus, which was about a 20 minute bus ride from the walled in area of York. It was cheaper two years ago and worked out well as I stayed in York for a week. They had regular bus service from the main campus to the old section of York.
This time however, when I booked well in advance, the only dorm that came up in December- January was the more expensive apartment dorms that are Student Castle. It was more expensive much much closer to where I wanted to be.
The Student Castle is a group of of dorm apartments buildings. It is modern inside. It includes a small kitchen, shower/toilet room, double bed, TV, table, desk and plenty of outlets. They appear to have parking spots in the quad area. There is access to free wifi.
I was told this facility rents out rooms throughout the year. There are grad students and some undergrads staying in the dorm, but the first floor is reserved for people visiting.
I found this was a nice alternative to hotel rooms in the area that can be quite expensive. The location is optimal. If you would like to stop by a grocery, you may be able to cook your own meals. If visiting York I highly recommend Student Castle York.
Are you looking for a cheaper option when traveling? Do you want to have your money stretch farther? Would you rather spend money on day tours and entry into museums than on the hotel you only sleep in? Other than hostels, there is another option during the summer- University Rooms.
University Rooms is a website that allows you book rooms at various universities around the world. Not all universities and colleges have joined this network, but some have in key places. I found out about them through an archivist at Memorial University in Newfoundland, Canada. She recommended I stay at the university while doing research up there. Once I stayed I started getting emails from University Rooms on occasion.
Besides staying at Memorial University in Newfoundland, I have also stayed at York University and the University of Bath in England. This time I stayed at Oxford University in England. All locations have felt safe. I would have to say so far Oxford has surpassed the rest on accommodations.
I stayed at the Keble College Oxford. Oxford University is an umbrella for over 30 college campuses spread throughout the town. It is not that far of a walk to the High Street and shops. It is also close to the museums on campus.
The dorm I stayed was large for one person. It had a single twin size bed, chair, desk and a private shower/toilet room. In a closet there was a refrigerator. They provided soap, lotion, shampoo, and even a toothbrush if needed. There were plenty of electrical outlets for your devices. Wifi is included. They also allow access to a laundry room.
The dining hall was fabulous. I am told by a friend who traveled with me that it is just like the one in Harry Potter. Some scenes from Harry Potter were filmed around Oxford including on some the university grounds. On our first day we felt privileged as they let us sit at the head tables up front.
I went to Oxford by train. Taxis know where to drop you off at different colleges within Oxford. You usually do not have long to wait at the Oxford Train Station to get a taxi. When checking out of the dorm, Keble College had a button to directly reach the taxi company. On the screen it gave the time expected for arrival to pick up up, the make and model of the taxi and the license plate.
There are buses within Oxford that take you to other nearby locations.
I love Oxford. This dorm was a good location in respect to most of what you would want to see at Oxford. The accommodations were impressive for a university dorm. If you are traveling to Oxford during the summer months and want to save money this is a good option.
Have you ever wanted to escape to some rural or remote area? Have you wanted to take in the sights and sounds of nature? During part of my stay in England I did just that and it was glorious.
I stayed at North Buckham Farm on the outskirts of Beaminster in Dorset. It is a working sheep farm with over 400 breeding ewes. They currently have two border collies, Scott and Naila. Scott works to move sheep between grazing areas and they are training Naila, still a pup, to do the same. They also have a few horses.
The accommodations were in a shepherd’s hut. This could have slept 2, but I was staying by myself. You have lovely views of the farm from the huts. The huts have electrical outlets, so I was able to work on my computer and charge my devices. You only hear the sounds of wildlife, horses, and occasional sheep from the shepherd’s huts. If you are a city clicker, no worries, most of the animals go silent after dark. Nearby is a building with a water closet, bath, and kitchen.
You have the option of including breakfast during your stay. I decided to do just that and it set me up well for the day. Trish, the host, asks you what you prefer. I had eggs and smoked salmon the first day as well as yogurt with fresh berries. Trish even provided gluten-free bread upon request.
Also on the property is a glass-fronted animal viewing hide. I arranged with Trish to venture out to the hide one night at eight. I waited quietly and my patience paid off. I saw two badgers one by one slowly peak out of their holes and return several times before they came out and foraged around on the grass in front of me. I also saw a fox run the perimeter waiting for the badgers to finish. I contemplated staying in the hide all night in order to catch the fox on my camera, but ended up heading back to my hut between 11:30 and midnight. If I return, I am determined to catch that fox. While waiting in the hide I believe I may also have heard an owl.
There are two walking paths, that one can start not far from the end of North Buckham Farm’s driveway that lead you into Beaminster. This town has two pubs, a Co-Op grocery, and a few other restaurants. There are also other walking paths nearby that lead to other villages farther away.
Do you fancy a simple more rustic stay away from crowds? Do you want to get away from it all, but still have access to civilization? Then consider a stay at North Buckham Farm in Dorset. It may be the location you need to unplug and unwind.