Roche Abbey and Conisborough Castle

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August 9th 2018
Published: August 12th 2018
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This morning we decided to take a different route over the peaks so made our way to the A57 and over Snake Pass to Ladybower Reservoir. We stopped briefly at the reservoir mainly to take a couple of photos that show how low the water level is. We took one photo looking north towards the Derwent Reservoir and another from the A6013 looking north-westerly.

We re-programmed the SatNav for Roche Abbey and continued on the A57 towards Sheffield. Siri helped us to negotiate through Sheffield and then onto the A630 before directing us to the M1 motorway heading south. We were only on the M1 for a few miles before Siri guided us onto the M18 heading north at the next interchange. At the first interchange on the M18 we exited onto the A631 towards Gainsborough.

One last turn onto the A634 and then down a very roughly cobbled driveway and we were at yet another English Heritage property, Roche Abbey. The entry price here was £4.50 each so, it’s official, we really are visiting EH properties from here on for free as we have already recouped the value of our Overseas Visitor Pass in just three and a half days.

Roche Abbey was founded in the 12th century by Cistertian monks. They built the abbey straddling a small, but fast flowing stream which makes for a very picturesque setting. During the reign of Henry VIII the monastery was dissolved and most of the buildings were dismantled. Fortunately the magnificent early Gothic transepts have survived and soar to their original height. They are considered to be some of the finest early Gothic architecture in Britain. The ruins are now the centrepiece of a landscape created by Capability Brown in 1770 for the Earls of Scarbrough.

From the abbey we drove into Maltby where we picked up some sandwiches from the Tesco supermarket. From Maltby we cut across to Conisborough on the B6427, B6376 and B6094. We parked at the bottom of the hill and ate our sandwiches in Coronation Park which is situated below Conisborough Castle. After our lunch we walked up the hill and showed our OVPs for the second time today. At this English Heritage site we saved another £5.90 each.

The magnificent keep at Conisbrough Castle is one of South Yorkshire’s most striking landmarks. The castle was built late in the 12th century and was the centrepiece of a great Norman lordship, given by William the Conqueror to William de Warenne. The keep escaped damage during the Civil War, but fell into disrepair and became a picturesque ruin in the 18th and 19th centuries. The keep inspired Sir Walter Scott’s most famous novel ‘Ivanhoe’ which was published in 1819.

The keep featured stories from various inhabitants of the keep projected onto the walls. On the lowest level we heard from the warden of the keep about his responsibilities in getting everything ready when the de Warenne’s were scheduled to visit. On the next level we heard from Hamelin de Warenne (half brother to Henry II) who was responsible for adding the cylindrical keep. Finally we heard about Conisborough Castle from the perspective of Hamelin’s wife, Isabel, the 4th Countess of Surrey. The technology appeared to be quite similar to what has been installed recently in the stable at Cooks’ Cottage in Fitzroy Gardens.

Our journey home took us via Mexborough on the A6023 and then linked up with the Dearne Parkway (A6195) which we travelled on earlier this week. We had a smooth trip home apart from a strange deviation onto some minor roads to avoid a section of the A616 before we resumed our journey on the A628. Siri took us this way on Tuesday too, but on Monday we went straight through on the A616. We have no idea why Siri thought this diversion was necessary?!

We cooked again tonight, but cheated because we had bought slow-cooked pork ribs from Aldi. All we had to do was re-heat them and add the smoky BBQ sauce and cook some mash, carrots and beans to accompany the ribs. We picked up an apple pie at Tesco this afternoon so that was dessert sorted!

Kath won AGAIN at Jo. Kath is having a really great run of luck at the moment. Following a blunder on my part, Albert won 31s. I knew Albert was saving hearts. When I picked up and found myself with two high value diamonds and two high value hearts in my hand I decided to play safe and throw out one of my diamonds. Blaaaarrrgggh! Of course the next card I picked up was the ace of diamonds which would have given me 31 and the win ... if I hadn’t played so conservatively!!

Steps: 10,560 (8.15kms)

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13th August 2018

English Heritage
I loved using our Overseas passes! We only had a 9-day pass, so we got our money's worth after two visits (Whitby Abbey and Clifford Tower). My favorite stop of them all was Wardour Castle in the south, not sure if you're headed that way. I found the staff at English Heritage to be unbeliveably friendly and chatty - loved it! I have always wanted to see Conisborough Castle and now I really want to!!!

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