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CastleUK Blog
October 2008
The blog page, a place where I can record and then archive my monthly updates and what's new in our hunt for castles UK.
This months castles are from Denbighshire and Wrexham, Tomen-y-faerdre and Tomen-y-rhodwydd are from my January motte fest and Castell Dinas Bran and Erddig Castle are from an earlier trip when we stayed in Llangollen.
In September we visited The Shambles Victorian village in Newent, Gloucestershire, before it closes its doors for good at the end of October, it contains an amazing collection of Victoriana from the well to do draper's house to the simple gardener's cottage. Its a wonderful place, full of every thing and more Victorian and I hope somebody takes it on and keeps it open, it would be a big loss to a great little town. We also did a bit of castle hunting, it would have been a pity to miss the castles of Farleigh Hungerford, Nunney, Wardour and Old Sarum, I've wanted to see them for some time. I used for the first time my new Satellite Navigation System, which got us quickly to castle after castle and I don't know how we ever managed without it.
Click on the picture, for more information.
Hornby Castle Wallpaper
Hornby Castle, OS 97/SD 587-686 Lancashire England, is this months wallpaper.
The picture was taken on May Bank Holiday 2007 and the view is of the early 18th century mansion house, with the restored 13th century keep behind it. This picture was taken from the gardens, looking up at the castle which covers the top of the hill. We were looking at the castles in the Lune valley, which is a good days hunting but this castle is a private residence, with no public access. So when we went to get a picture from the bridge on Main Street, we saw that luckily the castle was open because I didn't know it opened a couple of times a year.
Castell Dinas Bran
Castell Dinas Bran, OS 117/SJ 222-430 Denbighshire Wales, is a mid 13th century stone keep and courtyard fortress, founded by the princes of Powys Fadog. The castle stands on top of a bank and ditched Iron Age hillfort, which overlooks the River Dee and the site is freely accessible in daylight hours. Well this is one of the iconic Welsh castles and not to be missed but having said that you can't miss it, if your on the A6 around Llangollen, its up there on that hill. You just have to stop and take a look, thinking how did they build that up there and is it possible to get to it, because from the road its high, very high. A footpath starts at Panorama Walk, which takes a bit of the hill out of it, at first it's a nice flat walk but soon its straight up and 30 minutes later we hit the top boy made it, great views and there's enough of the castle to make it worth while. Started to have a look around, only to see a big black cloud coming our way and there's no cover to run for, so when the first drops hit us, we just had to head back down, luckily by the time the big drops came, we were in the car.
Erddig Castle
Erddig Castle, OS 117/SJ 327-486 Wrexham Wales, is a late 11th century earthwork motte and bailey fortress, which was probably founded by Hugh de Avranches, earl of Chester. A bluff above the confluence of the River Clywedog and the Black Brook, was cut through by scarps and deep ditches, to form an oval motte and a subrectangular bailey. The site is owned by The National Trust and the gardens are open, Saturday to Thursday July and August 10:00-6:00pm. Saturday to Wednesday April to June and September 11:00-6:00pm, October 11:00-5:00pm. Saturday and Sunday November to 21 December and mid February to March 11:00-4:00pm. The castle is in Erddig Country Park and if you ask for the walk 4 guide it will take you to the site, which has been sadly altered by landscaped gardening but it's still an impressive earthwork castle.
Tomen-y-faerdre, OS 116/SJ 193-561 Denbighshire Wales, is possibly an 11th century earth and timber motte, founded by the lords of Iâl. The natural limestone outcrop which forms the basis of the fortress, stands against a northerly bend of the River Alyn. The site is visible from a public footpath, which passes the castle from the road. Nice site that's got a bit of history to it and you can get a good look from every angle.
Tomen-y-rhodwydd, OS 116/SJ 177-516 Denbighshire Wales, is a mid 12th century earthwork motte and bailey fortress, founded by Owain Gwynedd. Built in 1149, the castle was taken and burnt in 1157 by Iorwerth Goch ap Maredudd of Powys. The site is visible from the road, this is a big castle and the earthworks look impressive from the road but there's is a lot more of the castle that you can't see, on the other side of the rampart.

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