Autumn in the Welsh Marches
Between the Black Mountains and rural Herefordshire, in the area of the Welsh borderland known as the Marches, you’ll find rolling farmland, ancient woodland and Norman Castles. In autumn, the long shadows and vibrant colour are set off against the backdrop of distant blue-green mountains. (For those that want to know about the view, that’s the Blorenge on the horizon, with Skirrid Fach in the middle distance.) I know it’s not as seasonal as some of my posts, but looking through my gallery, this is the one I fancied blogging about… In any case, the photos from the day spent there feature a few times in the gallery, so it’s good to get one out of the way!
This photo was actually taken from the top of the tower of White Castle, one of those Marcher castles. I’m no history buff, as regular readers will know (geography is more my thing), but I believe these castle were all about taming the wild border lands, and its hillside location certainly speaks of subjugation and dominance. It’s even visible from my attic window, some 3 miles away as the crow flies, which is more impressive than it sounds -this is no Windsor Castle! I won’t regurgitate other people’s research, but I will point you to some useful websites about the place and why it’s there: http://www.castlewales.com/white.html is particularly good; as is the related page: http://www.castlewales.com/march.html; http://cadw.wales.gov.uk/daysout/whitecastle/?lang=en gives a useful overview and is important for anyone that wants to visit, and of course you could always look at the Wikipedia entry.
I loved the peace and quiet here: this isn’t exactly a popular one with tourists, so you don’t share the view with dozens of others, and you aren’t queuing to climb the stairs, or peer through a murder hole. It also fuels the imagination, you can really picture smelly english kernigits training in the outer bailey, or rebellious welsh yeomen sending volleys of arrows over the walls. No doubt mixing up all of my historical references there, let alone dropping in Monty Python. I’m fairly sure no cows were launched off these walls! Anyway, well worth a visit, particularly on a crisp, clear autumn day, perhaps with a nice picnic…and a camera…I could go on.
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All images © Stephen Tyrrell, Mountains, Wild Places & Water, 2013. All rights reserved.