Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Castles and signals.

Near Bunbury a three hundred foot high rocky outcrop sticks up out of the plain, from the top, on a clear day, you can see across to the Pennines in one direction and the Welsh mountains over to the west. As long ago as the iron age it was recognised as a handy defensive position, the remains of an iron age hill fort are still recognisable. In the 13thC. a chap called Ranulf de Blondeville had the bright idea of building a state of the art castle on top of it.

As there is a sheer drop on three sides it meant that the defences could be concentrated on one side. By digging a thirty foot deep trench across the fourth side it made it pretty well impregnable.
As an aside the WRNS camp in Devonport was called HMS Impregnable, make of it what you will. I am led to believe it was often proved to be wrongly  named.
Outside of the ditch there was an outer bailey wall with massive gatehouse and several D shaped towers.

All in all a formidable place, the arched structure in front of the top towers is a modern bridge to give access to the inner ward, it replaces the original drawbridge. The castle was slighted in 1646 by Cromwell.
In the event of a siege there was a well, three hundred and seventy feet deep, in the inner ward.
Our walk today took us round the base of the hill, unfortunately the castle is on winter hours at the moment and is only open at weekends  so we couldn't get a close up view.
A mile or so over, on the next hill is Peckforton Castle.

A 19thC. stately home built to look like a castle. It is now an upmarket hotel and wedding venue.

We continued on through Beeston and came across an interesting relic, the old cast iron signpost still points to Beeston Station, actually Beeston Castle and Tarporley, on the L&NWR line from Crewe to Chester. The line is still in use but the station is long gone.

Thoughtfully they have painted the station bit out. The station was at least two miles from both of the places it was named for.

At least on the site of the station there is still a working semaphore signal in use, a rare sight these days.

Luckily they have put a stile in the fence here so you can get onto the footpath.

our first sighting this year of the odd flowers of butterbur.

Watch this space.........


Alf said...

Peckforton Castle is well worth a visit, lovely setting, lovely birds of prey just inside the gate, cosy cafe, & if you are feeling adventurous theres the Land Rover driver (off road) training. (no conection, just a satisfied customer !)

Graham and Jill Findlay said...

Sounds great but getting there is the snag. It's a bit of a hike from the cut. May give it a shot one day when we've got a hire car.