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Sun, Sea and Sand – Day Four

Sun, Sea and Sand – Day Four

Today is our last full day in Tenby as we leave in the morning to go back home. We are going to look at the Merchants House (National Trust) in Tenby then we will explore the area around South Beach (our hotel is on North Beach).

On our way we pass through some more of Tenby’s narrow, picturesque lanes.

I had to crawl through this next one as my head wouldn’t fit in the narrow bit. Surely they can’t get any narrower than this can they?

Tenby was never built to accommodate motor vehicles and, in consequence, there are sometimes traffic jams to be had. In Tenby a traffic jam might consist of only a half dozen vehicles, because of the narrow roads, and it doesn’t usually last for long. Because of those narrow roads the traffic moves very slowly anyway so it’s not a real problem.

We later passed this rather fine Victorian Post Box.

The Merchants House, run by the National Trust, is in the back alleys – that’s it facing the camera. It dates from 1500 which makes it the oldest house still standing in Tenby. The front part of the ground floor would have been used as a shop and the rear part as the kitchen.

This next picture shows the kitchen with its huge fireplace and the door to the small courtyard at the rear of the house. The courtyard is shown in the following picture.

Going up the stairs leads into the family’s living quarters. The wooden frame on the right is the banister rail around the stairwell.

On the top floor are the sleeping quarters and everyone would have slept in this room.

We left the Merchants House and walked to South Beach. I’m fairly sure that this beach is significantly longer than North Beach. Have you spotted the palm trees?

We found our way down to the beach and turned towards the town (I wasn’t prepared to walk all the way to the other end of this beach then all the way back again). We noticed this cave and went over to explore.

This was not an enormous cave but we were surprised at how far into the rock it went bearing in mind that it’s formed by the action of the sea.

Further along we noticed the section of the old town wall and tower still surviving.

There are some lovely bits of garden dotted about on the cliffs and this was one of them. Very pretty.

That picture should tell you that we have climbed up from the beach and are, once again, on the cliff top.

That was the end of our fourth day and although we are staying one more night we will be leaving first thing after breakfast and travelling home. Although we intend to call in at Dinefwr Park on our way back I had already mentioned our visit on the way here and used some of the photographs taken on our way back so there is nothing more to add.

There won’t be a ‘Day Five’ report so until next time.

Chains, Chapters and a Challenge

Chains, Chapters and a Challenge

In the week starting Monday 18th July we were going to have the builders in only on Monday and Friday and as the weather forecast for Tuesday was sunny all day we did the obvious – a day trip out.

We thought that Hereford would be a good place to go because it's only an hours drive away and we had never been there. We duly arrived in Hereford without incident and walked towards the city centre. The temperature was forecast to go up to 88 F, which is rare for this country, but at this time of the morning it wasn't uncomfortable (yet).

You may realise that Hereford has a cathedral and has the River Wye running throught it (through the city not the cathedral). There is a modern bridge across the river which takes most of the traffic but a short way away is the old bridge, just one vehicle wide, which can be seen from the new bridge.

The 12th century Norman cathedral is obvious beyond the bridge and the bridge itself is also 12th century.

By this time it was around mid-day and it was starting to feel hot. This is now the middle of July and it's the first day this year I have felt able to wear a short sleeved shirt. Having seen the cathedral from the bridge we now made our way to see the cathedral close up.

It was much cooler inside which was a great relief. The fact that this is a Norman cathedral becomes obvious when one sees the arches on either side of the nave.

The font is also Norman and does look rather worn but the base is of a later date.

There is also a crypt under the Chancel.

Entry to the cathedral is free but this cathedral does have some unique features for which  entry is chargeable but which we couldn't afford to miss. One of those features is the Chained Library.

This is how the library looked in the 1600s. The books are attached to their bookcase by a chain, which is sufficiently long to allow the books to be taken from their shelves and read, but they cannot be removed from the library itself. This would prevent theft of the library's books The practice was usual for reference libraries from the Middle Ages to approximately the 18th century. However, since the chaining process was also expensive, it was not used on all books. Only the more valuable books in a collection were chained.

One thing you may notice is that the books are the 'wrong' way round i.e. with the spines on the inner end. It was standard for chained libraries to have the chain fitted to the corner or cover of a book. This is because if the chain were to be placed on the spine the book would suffer greater wear from the stress of moving it on and off the shelf. Because of the location of the chain attached to the book (via a ringlet) the books are housed with their spine facing away from the reader with only the pages' fore-edges visible (that is, the 'wrong' way round to people accustomed to contemporary libraries). This is so that each book can be removed and opened without needing to be turned around, hence avoiding tangling its chain. To remove the book from the chain, the librarian would use a key.

The other unique feature at Hereford Cathedral is the Mappa Mundi (Map of the World).


Dating from 1300 it is the largest medieval map known still to exist. It represents the known world with Jerusalem being drawn at the centre of the circle, east is on top, showing the Garden of Eden in a circle at the edge of the world. Curiously, the labels for Africa and Europe are reversed, with Europe scribed in red and gold as 'Africa', and vice versa.

Great Britain is drawn at the north-western border (bottom left) and shown below enlarged. In the enlarged version Scotland is the island on the left with England to its right. Wales is shown as a separate island below England with Ireland shown as two islands below that.

Needless to say America and Australasia are not shown at all.

This is a reproduction showing the detail with more clarity.

We eventually decided we'd have to venture out of the cathedral to see more of the city and that's where the challenge is involved. The temperature must have reached its forecast maximum of 88 F because it was HOT! It was also very humid which didn't help at all and we found that we were walking in the shade at any and every opportunity. It is interesting to note that since 2001, extremes at Hereford have ranged from 92.5 F (33.6 C) during July 2006, to as low as 3.6 F ( -15.8 C ) during December 2010.

We walked away from the cathedral along Church Street going past The Grapes, a 16th century coaching inn, and into High Town.

High Town is the old market square and is now the main main shopping area in the city. It also features the Old House; a Jacobean (early 17th century) timber framed house which I must say is rather impressive. It is open to the public, entry is free, and it is worth a look inside.

That Hereford Bull is looking at me very suspiciously and, taking into account the look on its face, I don't think I shall hang around.

We were melting by this time and decided that if we could actually make it back to the car we would go home. We did and we did.

Following the stones

Following the stones

We started today with a little trepidation because 4 weeks ago to the day we were also going on a day trip, although to a different destination, and immediately after finishing breakfast I had a heart attack and was carted off to hospital where I spent the next 4 days. It turned out to be a minor heart attack but it is, apparently, going to take 6 weeks to get back to normal (another 2 weeks to go from now).

We were not really expecting any problems today, and there weren't any, so we set off for the railway station.

We were headed for London, change at Stratford onto the DLR for Woolwich Arsenal then just two more stops on South-Eastern Trains to Abbey Wood Station. A short walk and here we are. But where exactly?

This is Lesnes Abbey Woods in the London Borough of Bexley just two miles south of the River Thames at Cross Ness or two and a half miles east of Woolwich Ferry. In the picture above the pointed skyscraper of Canary Wharf is visible near the centre line of the image with the top of the Shard showing more to the left.

The ruins at the bottom of the picture above is one of the features we've come to see. The abbey was built during the 12th century and  the first inmates probably came from the Holy Trinity Priory in Aldgate.

Although there is not a lot of structure left above ground the ruins are quite extensive. The area below was obviously the abbey church showing the bases of the columns in the church nave and the second picture shows its position relative to the other parts.

There are some parts with a significant amount showing above ground as shown here.

The inhabitants were known as Augustinians or Black Cannons and they used to meet every day in the Chapter House to discuss the business of the day and here Amanda is trying to pretend to be one of the  Cannons sitting on the bench. She doesn't seem to have much of an audience (perhaps they were warned that we were coming). smilies

It is interesting to speculate how they aquired, and organised the delivery of, all the stone needed for such a large building especially as there is no stone like it locally. The River Thames, as I said previously, is 2 miles away so the stone could have been delivered by sea – but from where? How would they have contacted the people who could supply the stone.

The abbey ruins are situated next to a wood which we wanted to explore next. Just bear in mind that it isn't flat around here and you will, like us, be going up and down some hills but the wood is really lovely and covers some 217 acres.

We were also looking for some geological deposits known as the Blackheath beds which are very fossiliferous and which I visited about 55 years ago. They were easy to find then, I have the fossils to prove it, but we couldn't find them this time. That was a little disappointing but I'd like to try again sometime.

The abbey was demolished around 1525, partly because of the dissolution of the monastaries by Henry VIII and partly because it was then already in a rather neglected state, and some of the stone was used to build Hall Place (Tudor) about 3 miles away measured in a straight line. We decided to follow the stones to Hall Place and so jumped on a number 229 bus which would take us very near Hall Place. The journey took around 50 minutes because the bus goes a rather long way round but it does make the journey simple.

The walk from the bus stop to Hall Place, which is still in the London Borough of Bexley, was quite short and we had our first glimpse of Hall Place from the road.

It certainly looked interesting so we hurried round to the entrance. Entry to the grounds is free and there is a lot to see but to go into the house requires an entrance fee of £8 per adult, £6 pounds for oldies (us) and a further discount of 50% for National Trust members (also us) so we paid £3 each for the house. If you have a National Art Pass from the ArtFund then entry to the house is free.

However it was now lunchtime so before we got to the house we found their cafe by the River Cray and had some lunch. I had seen some reviews of the cafe on the internet and they tended to be rather disappointing so we were not expecting much. However things must have improved as my soup and bread roll was really tasty and Amanda's bacon sandwich, she said, was exceptionally good. We also had no complaints about our coffee and tea. We sat outside on the river terrace and could watch the ducks and geese swiming about including Mrs Canada Goose and family.

After lunch we crossed the river over the bridge next to the cafe to see the Rock Gardens and it was certainly worth the short walk. You can see the house, with the cafe this side of it, in the second picture which will give an idea of distance.

There was a great variety of plants including some that were of particular interest to Amanda and lots of different colours which made a really attractive display.

Back across the river we turned away from the house towards the greenhouses where we found a large conservatory which was free entry so we went in. There was a rectangular path with the centre taken up with a pond surrounded by lush vegetaion and around the outside of the path were benches covered in various plants, flowers and cactuses.

We then made our way towards the western end of the grounds which had some beautiful areas of parkland together with lots of colour from numerous Azaleas which are in bloom at this time of year.

Walking towards the colour we were soon to realise just how many Azalea blossoms and colours there were and these pictures show just a few.

There was another bridge here over the river which was partly festooned with Wisteria.

The only downside to this part of the grounds is the traffic noise from a very busy road nearby. We turned round here and started to head back towards the house passing through the 'Really Useful Garden' on the way. Yes, that really is the name. It appears to be a herb garden with, yes, really useful herbs and I must say the Box hedges look really neat.

Next we went into this garden with flower beds divided into compartments by rather neatly trimmed wavy hedges. We expected to walk out the far end but discovered that the way in was the only way out.

As we neared the house we encountered the Queen's Beasts – a set of ten brilliantly executed topiary heraldic animals which were planted to celebrate our current queen's coronation. They've grown into big beasts.

At the far end of the Queen's Beasts is this turret on the house demonstrating some pretty impressive flushwork.

In architecture  flushwork is the decorative combination of flint and stone on the same flat plane. Flushwork begins in the early 14th century, but the peak period was during the wool boom between about 1450 and the English Reformation of the 1520s. Flushwork, and flint architecture in general, is usually found in areas with no good local building stone. Although the labour cost of creating flushwork was high, it was still cheaper than importing the large quantity of stone necessary to build or face the entire structure. The dark squares are flint and the light squares are stone.

The same technique has been used on the front of the house to good effect.

We finally went in to this Tudor house built in 1537 although the brick part was added in the 17th century and started our visit in the Great Hall with the Minstrel's Gallery.

Just off the Great Hall is the Kitchen.

One of the other rooms has this ornate ceiling.

Hall Place is one of London's hidden gems and, in our opinion, one that shouldn't be missed. I'm surprised that it isn't better known but I'm glad it isn't. smilies

I am supposed to be taking things easily but I don't think that I did that today. Consequently by this time I was feeling tired and so was Amanda so we decided to call it a day. We caught a bus, from the same stop from which we alighted when we arrived, to Bexley Station and then a train to London Cannon Street and thence to Liverpool Street Station and home.


I went 220 miles to Devon for 30 minutes – Tuesday.

I went 220 miles to Devon for 30 minutes – Tuesday.

I got out of bed this morning and tried to encourage my legs to move and by the time I'd got down to breakfast they were just about usable again (but only just smilies ).

Breakfast is fairly late here, at eight o'clock, so I first wandered out into the town towards the church. It was very quiet as I passed through the back streets and emerged near the church.

The church is quite old with parts dating back to Saxon times. The interesting part is in the churchyard on the seaward edge.

That wire fence is to stop people from dropping off the edge of the cliff and you can see that the path shown goes nowhere. This church, when it was built, was a long way from the cliff now it can't be more than 50 feet. It is hoped that the new sea defences below will stop the erosion.

Back for breakfast then onward.

I'm going to hop on the same bus again this morning but I'll be going through Chideock to Burton Bradstock this time which is about a 60 minute journey.

I get off the bus just the other side of Burton Bradstock and walk down Beach Road. High tide was about an hour ago so the tide is going out and it's safe for me to walk along the beach as far as West Bay. I say 'safe' because there are high cliffs on my right all the way.

The cliffs, as you can see, are made up of alternating bands of hard and soft rock giving them a striped appearance. The rocks are Inferior Oolite and Fullers Earth from the Middle Jurassic.

As I walked along the beach I could hear a sound which might be described as a cross between a crack and a knock. This sound occurred regularly at intervals all the way to West Bay and was definitely coming from the cliffs. It sounded rather ominous but there were no rock falls whilst I was there. I can only assume that it was the hard bands expanding and contracting with changes in temperature.

These cliffs are dangerous and rock falls are not uncommon. This shows a recent fall and that crack in the cliff above doesn't look particularly safe. Staying away from the cliff, as I am, is the safest thing to do and needs to be done when the tide is going out so that more of the beach is exposed.

The hard rock bands are certainly fossiliferous as this picture of one of the fallen slabs shows. There are many molluscs and belemnites.

I continued along the beach towards West Bay until I reached the River Bride. That means I either paddle or go inland a little way to use the bridge.

I decided to do as the person in the picture did. The water at its deepest didn't reach my ankles nor was it particularly cold and to prove that I did get to the other side:

There are other people on the far side, who were behind me, preparing to do the same.

I finally reach West Bay which is the seaside part of Bridport.

The Bridport Arms used to be the Ship Inn and dates from the late 17th century and is partly thatched. The town of Bridport is a bit of a long walk from here so I decided to catch the bus which set me down in the town centre. The main roads in Bridport, West Street, East Street and South Street form a 'T' with South Street being the leg of the 'T'. This is from the top end of South Street looking south.

A short way down South Street is the town museum housed in this Tudor building.

Further down South Street is the parish church of St. Mary dating from the 13th century.

In the lower part of South Street is the Chantry; the oldest building in Bridport dating from before 1300.

Further on by the River Brit is Palmer's Brewery dating from 1794 and the water wheel, forged in 1879 at a Bridport foundry, does still turn.

From Easter to the end of October a guided tour starts at 11.00 am on every weekday (excluding Bank Holidays) and lasts for about two hours. No I didn't.

I made my way back up South Street to West Street where, after a tiring day, I caught the bus to Lyme Regis. Tomorrow I leave Lyme Regis. smilies

(Tomorrow, Wednesday: I leave for home – or do I?)


The Good, the Bad and the Ugley

The Good, the Bad and the Ugley

Yesterday we were thinking of going on a day trip but in the end we decided not to. Why did we not go? Because we had worn ourselves out the day before on another day trip.

We had decided to go shopping. We wanted a mower lift, a coiled hose that stretches to 100 feet and a drill bit sharpener plus some other items. Those every day items that everyone needs. smilies

These were to be purchased from a shop in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire. It was only 33 miles from us so it didn't take long to get there and we duly purchased our items and stuffed them in the car.

We walked off into Bishop's Stortford to have a look around. As we were walking away from the shop we noticed the unusual roof.

Shops don't normally have what appear to be strange tapering chimney pots. The reason for those is that the building used to be used for malting. Malting is a process that converts the starch in cereal grain, usually barley, to alternative forms of sugar used in brewing. The conical chimneys of these distinctive buildings emitted a rich aroma of roasted malt, a smell not unlike that of roasting coffee, that permeated the air for miles around.

Those days have long gone but the buildings remain and this one has now been converted to a shop.

We were now in Bridge Street with the 16th century Black Lion Inn just ahead and to our left. This looked to be a fine timber-framed building. There were other nice old buildings in this street.

After walking up Bridge Street we found ourselves in the Market Square with the Corn Exchange on the right and the church tower and steeple showing above the buildings in the distance.

 We wanted to see more of the church so headed in that direction. The continuation of Bridge Street westward is High Street and we spotted a very nice timber-framed building.

This local tailors was one of the oldest businesses in the world until 2013 when it closed. Part of the building dates from about 1360, with modern additions around 1545.

A little way up from here, near to where High Street changes to Windhill, we found the church. A rather large, impressive building in a rather small churchyard making photography difficult. It is unusually long at 170 feet with a spire 180 feet high.

Although there was probably a Saxon, and later, a Norman church on the site, the only surviving fragment of those times is the font. The church seems to have been completely rebuilt in the early fifteenth century and it was altered and restored in both the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries.

Immediately opposite the church is the Boars Head Inn dating from around 1420 (Tudor).

Samuel Pepys frequented this inn and is recorded as having dined here on 26 May 1668.

Just above this point High Street changes to Windhill a wide and attractive street tree-lined on one side.

You can see evidence of the malting industry again in the form of that tapering chimney and the fact that the house is called 'Oast House'.

So, back down Windhill then High Street to this junction where we turned left into Basbow Lane.

We had spotted some colour-washed houses at the far end when we were on our way up the hill and decided to investigate on the way back. This is what we found.

A nice group of old, pretty houses. At the end of the lane there were some steps down to Hadham Road and an interesting building at the bottom of the steps. The building is, apparently, timber-framed covered in plaster and dates from the 17th century with alterations in the 18th and 19th centuries.

We went back down Bridge Street and crossed the road into Castle Gardens where we saw all that's left of Waytemore Castle – the mound on which it was built.

The River Stort runs through the park and the southern part is navigable.

We followed the riverside path for a while and saw yet more evidence of malting in the form of those tapered chimneys.

We had had enough walking by now so headed back to the car having seen most of the interesting parts of Bishop's Stortford and it wasn't until we were headed out of town that we realised we had missed a bit. A group of old buildings on the junction of Dunmow Road and Stansted Road. Oh well, next time perhaps. That was the 'good'.

We headed north into Essex, through Stansted Mountfitchet, and this is when our situation turned Ugley. In fact it was precisely at this point.

Ugley is a very small village just a few miles south of Widdington. It has a lovely little church which unfortunately was locked.

The road to the church was narrow and they don't come much narrower than this. No hope of seeing out to the sides either.

There was a group of attractive thatched cottages and a few modern houses round about and that was 'Ugley'.

We decided to travel the few miles to Widdington. Remember Widdington? We visited that village in July 2010 and wrote a blog report. We saw a medieval barn there but were unable to see inside because it wasn't open but today it was open.

Now is that impressive or is that impressive?

We had come to the end of our day out and so headed home. Most of the journey back is on the A120, a fast dual carrigeway that is rarely busy, but suddenly we found ourselves being diverted off the road near Braintree with no signs to offer an explanation. We had to make our way through Braintree town centre and eventually to home. That was the 'bad'.

The other day trip I mentioned at the top of this post will happen another time. Wait and see. smilies



Lynn – Day 4

Lynn – Day 4

Today we wake to a cloudy sky. This does not come as a surprise as it was forecast and we still decide to stop off in Thetford on the way home as neither of us knows much about it. We finish breakfast, pack and set off.

We parked near the 18th century Nuns' Bridges which took their name from the nearby nunnery and they carry the ancient trackway known as the Icknield Way over the Little Ouse River and the River Thet in Thetford.

The first picture shows one of the bridges and the second picture shows the other two bridges; there being three in all and they are only one car width.

Not far the other side of the bridges we found the 17th century Dolphin Inn. A typically patterned frontage involving flints much used in Norfolk.

There were quite a lot of signs in Thetford but …

A bit further on and we found the old Medieval Motte and earthworks. This huge motte, or artificial mound, is sunk into a deep surrounding ditch, and protected on the north site by two sets of complex ramparts, which were probably part of the original Iron Age fortifications. At  64 feet high (72 feet from the base of the ditch) this is the second largest man-made mound in England the largest being Silbury Hill in Wiltshire. This would have had a castle on the top.

You can see Amanda wondering if we can actually get up there, the only way up is straight up the slope, will we get down alive?

Well we did and we are as this picture testifies. The building on the centre line of the picture is the back of the Dolphin Inn.

Further into the town we saw the Ancient House which dates from the late 15th century, making it Tudor, and it is now a museum.

Soon after we found the Charles Burell Museum which tells the story of a local factory which was once the major employer in the town making steam traction engines and steam rollers. I WANT ONE!

The company became known for producing reliable and good-looking steam-powered engines which were always built to customers' requirements.

Finally we went to see the remains of the Cluniac Priory.  Founded in the early 12th century these extensive remains were one of the most important East Anglian monasteries, the Cluniac Priory of Our Lady of Thetford and the burial place of the earls and dukes of Norfolk for 400 years.

Those parts remaining include the lower walls of the church and cloister, along with the impressive shell of the priors' lodging and, reached by a pathway from the main site, an almost complete 14th century gatehouse.

That was the end of our trip and, from there, we went home.


Lynn – Day 3

Lynn – Day 3

Another day, another sunny morning.

Today we are going further north to the coast at Hunstanton known colloquially as 'Sunny Hunny'. It's about 40 years since I was there last and we are going once again to look at the cliffs. It was a straightforward, uneventful journey and we reached the old lighthouse in about 30 minutes. We went into the obvious, very large car park to find that the charges were approximately £1.80 per hour with a small reduction for longer stays. We turned round and left.

We drove along the road past the car park entrance and found space further down to park in the road at £0.00 per hour unrestricted. No contest really.

We were now going to walk back the way we came, along the top of the cliffs, until we can access the beach. A short way after leaving the car we came across the only remaining part of St. Edmund's Chapel built in 1272.

Hunstanton has long been associated with Sir Edmund who, as King of East Anglia, led a small army against the invading Vikings, was captured and, after refusing to give up his Christian faith, was tied to a tree and shot by Danish archers. Legend has it that when St Edmund first came from Saxony in AD855 he landed near Hunstanton cliffs.

Then of course there's the old lighthouse.

There has been a Lighthouse here since 1665 which was built of wood with an iron basket of burning coals as a light. Hunstanton had the world's first parabolic reflector, built here in 1776, and the current lighthouse was built in 1840. There is no access inside as it is now a private residence.

We went on past the lighthouse down towards the beach as the cliffs became lower and lower. We could see a large expanse of beach and, further out to sea, a bank of mist touching the water.

Having reached the beach we reversed our direction so that we were now walking back along the beach, instead of the cliff top, in the direction of our parked car. The cliff here comprises three layers of which the bottom layer is Carstone. This is a type of sandstone and shows a distinct pattern of raised, rounded blocks here when eroded by the sea.

The cliffs themselves are the striped cliffs I mentioned in the Prologue and you should be able to see three distinct colour bands. The youngest rock at the top is bog standard white chalk laid down during the Upper Cretaceous then below that is what is known as Red Chalk laid down during the Lower Cretaceous. Both of these layers are limestone. At the base is the Carstone which is brown in colour and which we saw protruding above the beach as rounded blocks in the previous picture.

For those of you who prefer to work in years these sediments are around the 100 million year mark – a teensy bit older than I am.

We walked a little further on until we found some steps and a path to take us back to the top of the cliffs. You can probably see that these cliffs are subject to significant erosion.

After that final look at the cliffs we found a nice little cafe at the top of the cliffs overlooking the sea where we had lunch. After lunch we walked back to the car and headed back to King's Lynn.

About 5 miles this side of King's Lynn is a small village called Castle Rising where we expected to find, as you've probably guessed, a Norman castle. What we didn't expect to find was an imposing Norman church.

On the other side of the church is the old market cross dating from the 15th century which we thought was in a rather nice setting.

The church itself had a rather spendid, and typical, Norman doorway.

Opposite the church was the Tudor Trinity Hospital founded by the Earl of Northampton in 1614 and although the roof is now tiled the original roof was thatched. The term 'hospital' in Tudor times was applied to almshouses.

The inhabitants, known as 'Sisters', were expected to be "of an honest life and conversation, religious, grave and discrete, able to read, a single woman, 56 years of age at least, no common beggar, harlot, scold, drunkard, or haunter of taverns" and had to attend chapel every day.

Finally we got round to seeing what we came here to see – the 12th century castle.

I'm standing on the high earthwork bank which completely surrounds the castle with a very, very deep ditch on the outer edge. That's Amanda teetering on the edge in the second picture.

The main stairway into the castle is quite impressive and it was meant to look that way to impress visitors.

The rest of the castle, however, is accessed via the more traditional medieval spiral stairways and passages.

When we came to leave we realised that we were the only people in the castle. An interesting experence.

It's worth a visit if you're ever that way.

The end of another day and tomorrow we go home – but …..