I meet with a friend, on a sunny morning, in what appears the middle of nowhere, but is actually rural Herefordshire. Murmuring of the strangeness of the last couple of years, we walk about the castle ruins, enjoying the serenity and mystery of the castle walls and stone bridges. The motte, some still brimming with water, others dense with greenery, whisper of adventures and stories long blown away on the wind.
Though missing a roof and hollowed out, it is easy to imagine the day to day living in the secluded greenery of their surroundings. Kilpeck in Hereford is nothing more than 2 partial walls, one with the scorched stone of what was a fireplace and another with a drainage hole. A motte from 1090 with earthwork around it. At Abbey Dore, there are some remaining arches from the 12th and 13th Century, connected to a more recent church built up against them.
Grosmont (French for big hill) is tucked in a round of green, behind a pretty village, between Monmouth and Abergavenny. Built by the Normans, it’s one of the ‘Three Castles of Gwent’ (along with Skenfrith and White Castle). A crescent of trees create shade and its view from the galley, gives an impressive 360 perspective, for miles around.
My favourite is White Castle, tucked away on a broad expanse of greenery. The outer ward is sprinkled with a handful of picnic blankets, a dense canopy of evergreen standing tall in protection. The pale stone reflects on the water in the basin of the moat. The atmosphere of the place is welcoming and serene, somewhere I could sit for hours. The modern bridge takes us across to the internal ramparts, where a well and passageways can be explored. The view at the entrance and mown grass makes for a beautiful contrast to the structure reaching for the sky.
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All photos copyright © Louise Ann Knight