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Archive for the ‘cities and towns of the UK’ Category

My latest assignment has not taken me too far afield this time and I find myself in the depths of Kent. Not too far from where I’m located are villages familiar to me; Charing for instance….I stayed there on my pilgrimage to Canterbury in September. πŸ™‚ so that’s been a fun discovery. I am of course familiar with Faversham having stayed there in 2017 during my Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales walk from Southwark Cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral, as well as which I finished my latest stretch of the English coast there last Saturday – from Whitstable to Faversham. The Sun Inn; 14th century inn, was the perfect place to stay and I’d love to stay there again sometime.

the sun inn faversham
The Sun Inn, Faversham – 14th century inn with the best room and bath ever

However, the house where I’m working is toooo far from Faversham for me to do any proper exploring, but I have a few country roads I can follow and so far I’ve had 2 good days to get out and about. Of the 5.5 days I’ve been here so far, 1,5 produced rain and 2 produced fog…so I’ve only managed 2 proper walks since arriving on Monday 4th. The sun looks like its burning through the fog so hopefully tomorrow will be a good day for walking.

foggy day in kent
a foggy day in Kent

In the meantime the two walks have unveiled some gems as far as churches are concerned and some amazing houses…..some of which date back to the 15th century. In fact the house I’m working in was built in 1435!!! It’s pretty awesome with some fabulous beams and a huge fireplace. The floors are really wonky and sink in the middle and without heating, its VERY cold!!! I’ll let the photos do the talking

country walking
the long and winding road…..
first world war throwley airfield
Throwley Airfield 1917-1919
the old school house
The Old School 1873-1935
houses at Throwley Forstal

Although I haven’t been able to get out that much, I have walked far and wide, clocking up 16.3 kms over 2 days. Its something of a challenge to find different routes when you’re limited to long stretches of road and a 2 hour break. If I had longer, I’d walk to Faversham for sure. It’s only 5 miles away but would take 1hour 35 minutes to walk there and no time to return before my 2 hours is up!!

I have though seen 2 beautiful sunsets and enjoyed the lengthening shadows of the graveyard. Hopefully tomorrow will bring fine weather so I can get out again…

p.s. there may be a problem with the photo galleries…..if there is I will fix them later…..they look fine via my computer, but on my phone there seems to be an issue….sorry for that.

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And suddenly I was on the home straight with just 19 hours to go and I’d be on my way. My final break was taken in town and I followed some of my more favoured routes and managed a decent 6.8kms, albeit with a reduction in my time off again πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”

When I first arrived in Shepton Mallet 12 days ago my heart sank…it looked dull and grey with no defining features beyond grey walls and grey houses, a massive Tesco store and the distinction of being mentioned in the Domesday Book….and the oldest prison in the country looming large…and grey 🀨🀨

Shepton Mallet Prison- closed 2013
Exterior of the prison

But as usual I set out to explore and managed to find lots of interesting nooks and crannies, a great number of interesting houses, some of which are Grade II listed.

The Merchants House – 17th century Grade II listed

Three other houses of historical interest:

Longbridge House : with links to James, Duke of Monmouth and the Battle of Sedgemoor July 1685. Now a B&B. With parts dating back to the 14th century the house is best known for being where the Duke of Monmouth stayed before and after the Battle of Sedgemoor in 1685.

Exploring Shepton Mallet

Old Bowlish House : I was delighted to note the old English spelling…first house name I’ve ever seen in old English. Built around 1618, this Grade II* clothier’s mansion was modernised by the Georgians c.1735 and the Victorians c.1860.

Old Bowlish House – note the old English spelling

Downside House – Georgian House 5 bedrooms 3 bathrooms…I’ll have one of each πŸ˜ƒ

Downside House

exciting finds, although I’m pretty certain there were quite a few more dotted about. After all, in its past, Shepton Mallet used to be a very wealthy town built on the wool trade

I found and walked a small section of the Roman Fosseway, and explored the greater countryside, walking many sections of the East Mendip Way. I discovered the wonderful viaducts, one of which carried the old railway – now disused. I explored the beautiful Collett Park and stretching myself I walked to Downside, Bowlish and Ham Lane.

Fosseway
Exploring Shepton Mallet – Collette Park
Collette Park
Collette Park
Viaduct on the Kilver estate
The River Sheppey at Bowlish

I squelched along muddy public paths, slipping and sliding and climbed some interesting stiles πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ One of my favourite sections was between a steep field and the small holdings along the River Sheppey where I met lamas, horses, goats and chickens.

This was my favourite stretch of the walks
Helloooo

I walked along narrow roads and lanes and prayed that the tractors that had left their treads in the mud right at the absolute limits of the lanes, didn’t decide to come either up or down the lanes while I was walking along…they didn’t. Whew! I would probably have had to either climb under or over …or resort to climbing into the hedges that towered along the sides.

Narrow roads and wide tractors. ..

I managed to find many items of interest after all…I thought my options were out, but no.

Some houses had little plaques remembering past residents who went off to war and never returned

Although the architecture is mostly solid grey stone

A dilapidated house
Literally falling apart

I did find some older painted houses, albeit peeling and covered in mould….the reason for the stone houses was more apparent. The town is mostly located in a very deep wedge between hills, the Mendip Hills, and a great number of houses are built right on the rivers edge.

Mouldy peeling paint – note the crown decoration
A river runs past
Same section of the river
This house is also built right on rivers edge next to the Fosseway
An optical illusion- on Cat Ash the houses are actually adjacent

I found what used to be a Priory

The Priory exterior
The Priory interior

I’m totally intrigued by the bricked in doors and windows of many of the older houses, and am curious to know when and why they were sealed off.

Windows and doors bricked up m

Addendum – Many thanks to Grace for sending me this link in the comments. The reason why windows and doors were boarded up…governments eh πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺhttps://www.amusingplanet.com/2018/04/why-do-many-historic-buildings-in-uk.html?m=1 anything to squeeze more money out of their citizens.

The church was beautiful albeit locked so I never got to go inside πŸ˜” and the market cross is beautiful

And after yesterday’s walk and 2 weeks of indoor walking I’m now closer to my 2020 target of 2020kms. Hoorah. It looks like I may just reach my target by 31.12.2020

As usual, saying goodbye to the pets is sometimes the hardest part of leaving

And so ends my sojourn to Shepton Mallet. Its been quite a stressful job, and I’ll be glad of my 48 hour break before starting all over again on Monday in Croydon πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ thankfully only 9 days….

At the moment I’m in transit, first train and nearly in London ….1 tube ride, the HS1 to the coast and a taxi ride away from the Airbnb where I’m staying this weekend.

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Unexpectedly, I had the opportunity to visit Wells last week. What a delight. The weekly market was in full swing and people bustled about buying Christmas presents and savouring the delicious aromas that wafted through the air. I saw some amazing wreaths and was tempted to buy one, except I have nowhere to hang it, and a 6 hour journey to the Thanet coast on Saturday.

I loved this wreath
Autumn colours are perfectly suited for winter wreaths
Celebrating an Olympic Champion; Mary Bignall Rand, Gold medallist Long Jump 1964
Built around 1450. Here beggars used to ask for pennies
Penniless Porch, Wells, Somerset

I had 2 hours to explore and made the most of the time…..and spent most of it in the Bishop’s Palace 😁😁 which left me with 10 minutes to visit the cathedral. Fortunately we’re going back later this week so I can have a proper visit.

Layout of the Bishop’s Palace
Entrance to the Bishop’s Palace

Home to the Bishops of Bath and Wells, the palace, founded in 1206, has been the Bishop’s residence for more than 800 years. The great medieval bishops – Jocelyn, Burnell, Ralph of Shrewsbury, and Beckynton – developed their palace next to the city’s ancient wells. For centuries, water flowing from these wells has shaped the landscape; the buildings and the gardens of this site.

Entrance to the palace rooms
Along the ramparts

Wells, a cathedral city, located on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills, has had city status since medieval times, due to the presence of Wells Cathedral. Often described as England’s smallest city, it is actually second smallest to the City of London.

Wells takes its name from 3 wells dedicated to Saint Andrew, one in the market place and two within the grounds of the Bishop’s Palace and cathedral.

Moat, boats and birds

A small Roman settlement surrounded them, which grew in importance and size under the Anglo-Saxons when King Ine of Wessex founded a minster church there in 704. The community became a trading centre based on cloth making and Wells is notable for its 17th-century involvement in both the English Civil War and Monmouth Rebellion. 

Wells was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Welle, from the Old English wiells, not as a town but as four manors with a population of 132, which implies a population of 500–600

Over the years

William Penn stayed in Wells shortly before leaving for America (1682), spending a night at The Crown Inn.

I had a wonderful time exploring the Bishop’s Palace and am looking forward to seeing the Cathedral more fully on Thursday.

Children’s Wings

Inside the Bishop’s Palace

The Coronation Cope worn by Bishop Kennion at the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902
He assured me that I’m on the ‘good’ list πŸ™ƒπŸ™ƒ
The entrance hall from the stairs
The chapel windows
A compilation of the chapel
Scenes from the gardens

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Since I’d already explored the greater part of Shepton Mallet in the previous 2 days, yesterday I decided to follow the public footpaths – it took me on quite an adventure.

Public Footpaths
A bathtub in a field….where else? 😝😝
I saw some amazing farm houses
And the stunning Kilver Court complex

I eventually ended up on the Fosseway before heading back into town to see the Christmas lights. Some of the windows look so pretty.

Perfect for a cold dark winter night

I sent the pic of the owl to my daughter to show my grandson – apparently he responded with “oooooooo” πŸ¦‰πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ

The High Street

There’s a delightful cafe in the High Street called Madhatter’s – I love the decor. Next time I go past, if the cafe is open I may just treat myself.

Madhatter’s

So, despite having pretty much covered the whole town on the first day, I’m still managing to create some news routes…it’ll be interesting when I finish here on 12th, to look at all my excursions on mapmywalk and see just exactly where I’ve been.

Looking back….
Sometimes I think the farmers just make it difficult for their enjoyment πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ I did however manage to get over that

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Had a good 6.8km walk yesterday afternoon – took a slightly different route and ended up at the viaduct again but still haven’t found the lake that shows up on Google maps. Although I did see a small lake near a business park complex and a duck pond in Collette Park.

From the viaduct I went off in a different direction across a couple of fields and finally back to the main road, through Collette Park and down the High Street, then up onto the hill in time for the sunset and finally followed last nights path in reverse and back to the house.

Always good to be reminded
Last night’s path – on my left behind the fence are the manor house grounds
Manor House grounds

Did some slip sliding on the muddy paths on the hill, but managed to not fall on either my face or my derrier.

I more or less slid down that path..

The path across the hill takes you beneath what must have been a railway bridge before the 1960s purge of railway lines, its really dark and foreboding, especially in the waning light of night time – I just love it, looks so spooky.

Dark and spooky

Before setting off across the fields I visited the Kilver Court Designer Village. They have some really lovely items, and I’m glad my debit card was at the house 😁😁😁

Kilver Court Designer Village on my way back

In all a really good walk and I’m getting closer to my target for 2020 and making good progress along the virtual Great Ocean Road in Australia. Unfortunately the organisers of the Conqueror virtual challenges haven’t done any virtual postcards yet for this particular route, but I hope to receive them when they are ready.

Great Ocean Road virtual challenge
320.1kms to go by 31.12.2020

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So thankfully I start a new assignment today. I was beginning to panic just a bit.

But the agency finally came through and I’m on my way to Somerset to a town called Shepton-Malett, which to my delight is a Domesday Book town.

I’m looking forward to exploring πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ

Unfortunately it means that I can’t get out for sunrise walks for the next 2 weeks, so I made sure I got out this morning….and it was stunning. A gorgeous day for walking with clear skies and mild temperatures.

Spectacular lightshow at 06.45am
Stunning colours reflecting on the waves
Good morning sun 🌞

I walked as far as Dumpton Gap and back to the harbour chasing the incoming tide.

The tide was well in at Dumpton Gap

As with yesterday’s walk I collected 6 big pieces of trash that would otherwise have ended up in the ocean.

Besides these, I picked up a big plastic container and 2 other water bottles

I’m going to have to get back to carrying bags and gloves with me again…there was so much more I could have picked up but no means of carrying the stuff πŸ˜”πŸ˜”πŸ˜”

From yesterday

I was also attacked by a bloody dog again that despite the owner trying to grab the damn thing, jumped up and tried to get to my face. It took the owner a good few minutes to get the dog on a leash. My verbal commentary was not very polite. I truly wish people who own dogs would just train the damn animals. Thankfully it was a spaniel so not very big or my face would have been slashed. As it is I could smell its breath it came that close 😠😠😠😠 I did manage to wallop the animal with my stick which gave it pause, but as soon as I moved it went for me again.

Ultimately I managed to move off without much more than my trousers muddied. But seriously….

The tide really does encroach pretty quickly, which cut off part of my route along the beach.

On my way out I walked over this concrete slab.. a bit cut off on the way back…πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ thanks be for the promenade

A lucky morning; I found a real bounty of coloured and white glass pieces on the beach. Yesterday yielded only 2 pieces, today I found loads, especially of the dark green glass that is so beautiful.

I really do love that house…the views of the sunrise must be amazing
I cannot resist taking a photo every few minutes, it just is so beautiful. I love how the colours reflect off the waves on the beach
I saw another dead shark/dog fish on the beach, a tiny baby this time πŸ˜”πŸ˜” I do wonder what is killing them…probably the pollution

A magical walk and I’m so glad I made the effort. My kms are adding up, and the deficit going down πŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

After such a beautiful morning at the coast, clear skies and mild weather, imagine my surprise as we approached Canterbury on the train….the countryside is heavy with mist…looks amazing and I was wishing I had the time to jump off the train and take photos

A complete contrast to Ramsgate…not that far away.
Totally spooky πŸ‘»πŸ‘»

My next post will be from Somerset. I’m looking forward to exploring a new town.

Have a good day folks.

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I’m not really a fan of circular walks and prefer to end somewhere I didn’t start. But since I’m walking during my break, I have no choice but to return from whence I started.

Yesterday afternoon could be described as a blue sky day, and since it was my penultimate day in the city I made the most of the good weather and went for a ramble….from Temple to the Millennium Bridge, crossing to Bankside and walking to Tower Bridge, back over the Thames as the sun was setting and ultimately back to Fleet street and Temple.

I saw many of my favourite sights, and covered 7.86 kms in total.

Although I haven’t noticed much change in the volume of traffic along Embankment, the reduction in the city was very noticeable with many streets almost deserted. It was really weird walking past hundreds of shops and pubs….lights off and doors locked, and not manypeopleaboutat all. A bit like it would be after an apocalypse….

Very weird. This is the city of Sundays when everyone is at home and you could meander the streets and lanes and rarely see a soul.

Of course I took lots of photos…I hope you enjoy them

Has the chewing gum man been here?

If you cross Millennium Bridge look down and you’ll see a number of tiny little works of art. These are mostly the work of the ‘chewing gum man’. He creates art out of gum tossed on the streets by neanderthals. Although that’s actually insulting Neanderthals. Ben Wilson (click here for a profile) is famous in London for creating miniature artworks from gum stuck on the streets. His artwork is not limited to Millennium Bridge and if you keep your eyes peeled you’ll find these creative pieces in other corners of the city. I met him once at one of his exhibitions, a very interesting man. Here’s a more recent article about Ben Wilson you may enjoy reading https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/studiomoe/ben-wilson-the-chewing-gum-man-the-millennium-bridge-gum

One of my favourite views downstream of the Thames
When you cross Millennium Bridge from north to south, be sure to stop on the south side and look back…brilliant view of St Paul’s Cathedral
Just off the corner of a side street on Bankside you’ll find The Ferrymans Seat – harking back to when you had to pay the ferryman to row you across the river
The Globe Theatre- albeit not the original, Globe theatre is linked to William Shakespeare and pre-covid this is where you would come to experience what theatres were like in the 16th century. Not far from here and behind the first row of buildings you’ll find the remains of the Rose Theatre, where Shakespeare did perform his plays.
In the foreground is the arch of Southwark Bridge. At this point you can see four bridges crossing the Thames: Southwark, Cannon Street, London Bridge and in the distance, Tower Bridge – often mistakenly called ‘London Bridge’.
Beneath the arch of Southwark Bridge are scenes of Frost Fairs on the river from the days when it froze over in winter – specifically Frost Fairs were held in 1683-34, 1716, 1739-40, and 1814. The river is noe narrower and deeper and flows faster; and no longer freezes over.
A mural depicting William Shakespeare on the wall near The Clink Prison. I wonder what he would make of London today.
A fragment the Great Hall and Rose Window of Winchester Palace in Southwark. Once the palace of the Bishops of Winchester. The prostitutes who plied their trade in this area under the auspices of the Bishops were known as the ‘Winchester Geese’
A short walk from here is a piece of ground where they were apparently buried.
Southwark Cathedral circa 1905 – a place of Christian worship for more than 1,000 years it was originally an Augustinian priory built between 1106 and 1897. In 2017 I walked from the cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral following Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
Minerva and The Shard. This delightful sculpture can be found on the river side of the cathedral.
The Navigators; one of my favourite sculptures in London located in Hays Galleria
HMS Belfast moored on the Thames since 1971 on Southwark side of the river; the most significant surviving WWII Royal Navy warship. Since her launch over 82 years ago, she fired some of the first shots at the D-Day landings, served in the Arctic Convoys, and in the Korean War.
The magnificent White Tower glows in the light of the setting sun
Toad Hall aka the London Mayor’s Office – many years ago a play; Wind in the Willows, was staged in the open air theater next to the building. It was nicknamed Toad Hall and the name has stuck ever since, and occasionally we have (had) a real larger than life toad working there…
#notLondonBridge – Tower Bridge stands guard over The Pool of London – a bastion between the the lower reaches of the Thames and the City of London
Looking upstream. One of the many many barges that traverse the waterways on a daily basis; one of hundreds of various craft that ply the river ….
The Tower of London viewed from Tower Hill
The Tower of London- 6 years ago the moat was covered with ceramic poppies to commemorate the start of the First World War. I was one of the many lucky people who got to plant a few.
Remnants of the original Roman City walls located at the end of the pedestrian underpass from Tower Hill station
All Hallows by the Tower Church – oldest church in London. In the crypt you can see the crows nest from Shackleton’s ship, Endurance. Samuel Pepys stood in the platform of the tower and watched London burning in 1666
A poignant memorial located in front of the church
The Monument commemorates the area where the Great Fire of London started in 1666. Nearby is a small plaque on a building showing the original location of the bakers shop where the fire was meant to have started. If you ever decide to climb to the viewing platform…there are a lot of steps!! But you get a certificate for your efforts
Another of my favourite sculptures – The Cordwainer. Located in the ‘Ward of Cordwainer’, which in medieval times was the centre of shoe-making in the City of London. Only the finest leather from Cordoba in Spain was used, which gave rise to the name of the craftsmen and the Ward
The Royal Exchange – London’s first purpose built trading centre. The Royal Exchange in London was founded in the 16th century by the merchant Sir Thomas Gresham
A peek at St Paul’s Cathedral
My absolute favourite building in London – St Paul’s Cathedral still stands proud amongst all the new. Designed and built by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London razed the original to the ground. A tiny grave in the crypt of the cathedral is the resting place of this famous man. His epitaph: si monumentum requiris, circumspice”—if you are searching for his monument, look around. In all Wren designed 53 of London’s churches as well as other secular buildings. St Paul’s Cathedral featured in the famous film Mary Poppins.
St Brides Church aka the ‘wedding cake’ church. Urban legend has it that a baker was looking out the window of his shop one day looking for inspiration for a wedding cake he was creating…hence the popular design of the layered wedding cake. It’s named for the saint St Bride and is also known as the Journalists Church due to its proximity to Fleet Street, once home to the newspaper trade.
Back whence I started. The spot where I’m standing is actually in the City of Westminster and the City of London Griffin marks the boundary between the two cities. When I step past the sculpture I’m then in the City of London.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your trip around London and some snippets of history.

By the time my walk ended, the sun was setting below the horizon. Across the river is the OXO Tower and the Sea Containers building. Not sure what the two new towers are, but I wish they weren’t there…downstream you can see The Shard, its highest point lit up in blue.
Looking upstream towards the London Eye from the same location at the same time. You can see a sliver of the moon just to the right of the tall building on the left
My walk 7.86kms via mapmywalk

And finally,  London by night. Taken at 10pm last night.

The Sea Containers building lit up with a rainbow
The Colours of London – still my favourite city in the whole world

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The history always gets me. You can’t fail to be overwhelmed by a place that has seen so much history and events that have shaped this country

Temple Church
Pump Court
The archway of Middle Temple Lane, made famous in the Da Vinci Code
Fleet Street history
Middle Temple Lane at night

History always gets me

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I forgot to tell you about Lewes Castle!! How remiss of me. Only one of the most amazing attractions of the town..

When I first arrived in Lewes my attention was drawn to the fantastic 14th and 15th century buildings in the high street and I didn’t even notice the castle….probably also because I was sitting on the left hand side of the taxi πŸ˜‰ and despite what I used to tell my daughter, I don’t have eyes in the back of my head, so I missed it altogether.

And unusually for me…..as with Newhaven, I didn’t do my research prior to visiting.

On my first Saturday here, during my break, I set off to explore and whoaaa, there’s a castle.

My first glimpse of Lewes Castle

But as mentioned in a previous post, I had neither mask nor money with me πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ Never mind, I’ll come back next week (the castle is only open on Saturday atm due to Covid-19). But of course next Saturday was raining. So no castle.

However this Saturday last, I had to visit regardless of the weather because I leave Lewes on Friday.

Saturday dawned rainy and windy but with an occasional blue sky sunshine, so off I went. They have a really good system set up. You’re greeted at the door by a lovely lady who takes all your test and trace details, you sanitise your hands, then she sends you off on a one-way system through the museum first, after which you can buy your ticket for a visit to the castle. Ergo, the museum is free to visit (I think).Β  And visit you must.

The museum is not large, 2 rooms downstairs and 2 rooms upstairs, but they have a most amazing set up depicting the history of the area and the many artefacts that have been found in Sussex. An intimate little museum with just enough information to read and look at without being overwhelmed. My favourite artifacts were the swords. Wowww.

I had a good read, took some photos, bought a few items from the gift shop for my grandson, paid for my entry and another lovely lady guided me across to the gate and let me in.

I love castles 🀎🀎 There’s a massive shortage of castles in South Africa and the only castle I’d had experience of before coming to the UK was Cape Town Castle which isn’t really, but is rather a fort with grand ideas masquerading as a castle. It also has a history as a prison and is still a symbol of European oppression. Although to be fair, I guess most castles here have the same sort of background.

Anyway, back to Lewes Castle…

Like many castles today, this too is just a shadow of its former glory, but its fabulous. I climbed innumerable stairs to the top, sadly not the very top of the towers, which is where I really wanted to go, but the remains of the Great Hall will have to suffice.

Dozens of stairs
The Great Hall

The views across the valley to the hills are absolutely stunning, especially beautiful with the autumn colours. From here as well the view looks back in time to the 1264 Battle of Lewes.

A good view too of what used to be the Tilting Ground, now a bowling green, and in the distance I could see the windmill I passed a few days ago on my walk to Kingston. Awesome.

The Tilting Ground

The wind was blowing a gale and howling in my ears, flicking leaves and branches here and there….just brilliant. It was wild. Yes, there’s a couple of trees growing out the side of the building and there’s a tree slap bang in the middle of what was the Great Hall…now that’s wild!!

Nature takes over…

As you can imagine with the unpleasant weather, there were not many people up there, so it was easy to explore, although there really wasn’t that much to explore. Shame about the towers – closed atm due to Covid-19. Geez, I just realised reading that sentence back, that I used the word ‘there’ 3 times πŸ€”πŸ€” English eh.

Coming back down the stairs you have fantastic views across the town and to the cliffs, and travelling from across country the castle can be seen from miles away….the position is brilliant.

Views for miles around

In the courtyard is a fantastic Russian cannon and some wooden stocks

A bit of history:

A work in progress like most castles in England, Lewes Castle, originally known as Bray Castle, follows a motte and bailey design but unusually, has two mottes and was built on and added to over a few centuries.

The first motte, known as Brack Mount was completed shortly after the 1066 Norman conquest of England.

Both of the mottes were built byΒ William de Warenne, 1st Earl of Surrey, who also, along with his wife Gundrada, built the nearbyΒ  Priory of St. Pancras.

The mottes would originally have been surmounted by wooden palisades.

The second motte, known as the Keep, was completed in the late 11th century.
Both of which were built by William de Warenne, 1st Earl of Surrey.

Soldiers from the King’s army, set out from the castle to engage with Simon de Montfort at the Battle of Lewes in 1264.

Towers were added to one of the shell keeps in the 13th century.

The barbican gate was added in the 14th century.

Certainly not as enormous as some of the castles I’ve visited in the last 19 years, but no less impressive, it stands guard over a gap in the South Downs overlooking the towns of Lewes and Cliffe and the River Ouse that winds it’s way between the 2 towns.

In the distance…it looks far, but it’s only about a 10 minute walk

Lewes castle has the distinction of being the 49th castle I’ve visited as part of Project 101.

I’ve compiled a short video of some of the exhibits in the museum

I can highly recommend a visit to Lewes Castle if you’re in the area. At the moment they’re only open on Saturdays, but that might change in the future.

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With just 4 days left in Lewes, today I was determined to find and follow the Egrets Way.

At least now I know where it starts, I didn’t waste 3/4 of my break trying to find the route.

But first I stopped off at Trinity Church, Southover. I’d been past it a number of times but it was always closed – today it was open πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ There’s quite a history attached; “The church of Southover originated as a ‘hospitium’ or guest house to serve the nearby Priory of Saint Pancras founded by William de Warenne and his wife Gundrada in 1077 AD.

The tower was built in stages between 1714 and 1738, after the collapse of the earlier tower with spire in 1698. This may have been caused by hanging a ‘Great Bell’ in the previous year, which proved too much for the earlier structure. The location of the earlier tower is not certainly known,
but from what evidence is available probably stood where the Gundrada Chapel is built now.

I was delighted to find a scallop shell in one of the glass windows with St James right above it ❀❀

After my brief visit to the church I walked down St James’s Street to have a closer look at the house at the end of the cul de sac – it looked like a gingerbread house. Imagine my amusement when on closer inspection I discovered the name of the house; The Gingerbread House ☺☺ Just perfect!!

The Gingerbread House ☺☺

I made my way towards the river via the carpark and soon picked up the Egrets Way. I’m dead keen to walk along the riverside to the little village of Southease, also a Domesday Book village and near to where Virginia Woolf, who at the time lived in nearby Rodmell, committed suicide in 1941 in the River Ouse.

Of course with all the rain over the last few days, and boy has it rained, the river is in full tumultuous flow and the riverside path is mostly a muddy quagmire, placing obstacles of watery pools in the way.

Fast flowing River Ouse

But I trudged along, determined to get as far as I could, zig-zagging from one side of the path to the other trying to find the least squelchy and muddy bits to traverse. Thanks be for my walking poles, as always they kept me upright when the mud was determined to see me on my bottom.

I arrived at one gate to find a pool of water right in the middle surrounded by mud, so balancing precariously on the wooden edges and hugging the upright struts I sort of swung my way around and through the gate….but I didn’t get very much further since the path at the next gate was just too muddy; and so I said “no, just no!”.

I beat a retreat and returned the way I had come.

Once past all the muddy puddles et al, I crossed a grassy patch and picked up the cycle/walking path that is sensibly gravelled and continued on my way.

The riverside path will have to wait for another time – perhaps when I eventually walk the South Downs Way that passes through Lewes, I may just divert for a few days and actually walk along the river to Southease….if it hasn’t been raining!!

Time will tell.

Meanwhile I followed the path, beneath the grim and dreary railway underpass, through a fine, new wooden gate and before too long I recognised the place I had originally seen the signpost for the Egrets Way, near the recycling centre. It also gave me the opportunity to see where I had gone so very wrong at my last attempt

Dreary underpass, fine wooden gate

Once I realized the error of my ways, the what and why became apparent. Instead of turning left, I was endeavouring to find a way through to the right πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺπŸ‘‰βŒπŸ‘ˆ which of course would have taken me onto the railway line….clearly I need to do a map reading course 🀣🀣🀣 Even with the help of Google maps I still went wrong. How have I managed to not get lost on previous walks! Luck, I guess 🀭🀭🀞🀞

So now that I  know my daft mistake, it doesn’t really matter since its unlikely I’ll walk that way again while here…but I’m glad I resolved the issue.

So whizzing along I made my way back into town, passing some interesting houses, the only surviving section of the Franciscan Friary

Amazing relic from 1224!!

and while chatting on the phone to the relief carer who’d just left due to issues at the house, I once again went off piste….I had planned to go to Tesco for a packet of my secret vice, but since I was so completely not going in the right direction, I gave up and went back to the house.

On the way I passed the castle for another look and more photos 😁😁…wish the weather had been this fine on Saturday!!

Lewes Castle

Next a brief stop to take a few more photos of the 15th centuryΒ  bookshop windows….and spotted another book I would dearly love to buy – bad luck, the shop won’t be open again till Friday afternoon and by then I’ll be on my way….

I’m on the home straight. Hoorah!!

A little video with some more images from my walkabout today. The weather was fantastic

Lewes

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