Denbighshire 2 - The Marcher Lords and two eccentric ladies

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February 4th 2012
Published: February 4th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

What can you say about Chirk Castle? Set in the pretty countryside near to the town of Chirk in the Ceiriog valley it is the classic heavily built squat Marcher style castle Built in the 13th century it lies low in the landscape and is pretty imposing. It is though a homely castle with a lived in feel. This is explained by the fact that although the house is owned and maintained by the National Trust it is still lived in by the "family". This shows through the furniture and fittings.

The castle is approached via a long drive through the quintessential English or Welsh landscaped park. Oaks, Beeches, Chestnut and native trees fill the parkland. It is though a long walk from the main gate to the castle and a car is useful to make the journey easier. Virginia Creeper adorns and climbs the internal walls. The russet and crimson colours look like flames climbing the stonework. The most interesting feature for us was the small but perfectly formed library where volunteers were conserving the books for future generations to enjoy. We looked in envy at the band of workers repairing the spines and wished that we had time to join them. Heart said that this was a lovely way to spend time but head unfortunately told us that I still had to work . Ah well not long to go and perhaps the opportunity will come round to volunteer for such a delightful useful task. The rest of the interior of the castle was interesting and included a lovely chapel.

The other feature of the castle which interests are the stunning white metal gates which look from a distance like white lace or filigree/ The gates a confection of metal were made locally in Bersham by the Davies Bros and shows the immense skill levels of these local craftsmen. Similar gates are found all over Denbighshire - St Giles Church in Wrexham , Ruthin Parish church to name a few. The brothers were prolific and have left such distinctive landmarks on the area.

Next on our list was the house of the Ladies of Llangollen – Plas Newydd This lies above the pretty town of Llangollen. The town boasts a heritage steam train that chugs its way along the DeeValley, a canal complete with horse drawn barges, a ruined castle - Castell Dinas Bran or Crow Castle atop a hill and a ruined abbey just outside the town. A pretty busy busy in the summer months when the International Eisteddfod is in town. The town is full to brimming with choirs and dancers from all parts of the world taking part in a week long celebration. The town takes on a truly cosmopolitan feel. I used to work there and it was lovely to sit in the office watching the dancers go by in their colourful national costumes - the sound of different languages permeating the streets.

Plas Newydd itself is a charming black and white building, bigger than a cottage but still small enough not to be pretentious and sitting in its pretty gardens. The owners were the Ladies of Llangollen Lady Eleanor Butler and her friend Miss Sarah Ponsonby. They lived in the house from 1780 to 1829. They became celebrated and much visited as their story of friendship spread through Regency Society. Rather novelties at the time had they been born now they probably would have gone through a civil partnership. At the time they were shunned by their families but lived happily in this house for many years. The house
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Plas Newydd
is jammed packed full of their furniture, their books and their ornaments.

Lunch spent in the Bridge Builder near to Telford. We go often on our way to St Georges. On our last visit the decor was looking rather faded with echoes of late 1980' s and early 1990's pub design. A riot of colour with at least ten different wallpapers on the wall, clashing highly decorated curtains and carpet. Today however it has had a facelift bringing it into the 21st century. Subdued brown decor with not a hint of pattern to be seen. The stained glass mock windows between the seats replaced by plain glass bringing in more light and making the whole place look lighter and brighter. Food typical pub grub. We chose a combo which we shared. Enough garlic bread, some extra chips , spiced potatoes , prawns in breadcrumbs and a couple of varieties of chicken to fill both of us.

Motorhome arrived and we are off to see it on the 6th March . Excited but feel that the dealer has really treated us with indifference. Sometimes you want to feel special when you buy a new purchase and somehow this dealer has not made us feel that way. We are just one of many and that is sad and will warrant a comment when we pick up Suzy. Vignette arrived for Switzerland we are now wondering if our first trip is too ambitious. However took the bulls by the horns today and booked Eurotunnel journeys for both our May adventure and another in September courtesy of Tesco Clubcard Vouchers. Usually foolishly just bought groceries with them but this time exchanged them for 3 times their value. The two trips cost the price of recorded delivery which will be around £6 and a small payment of £75. This will make the average cost of the four single journeys to just over £20 which is good value in anyones books.

Ordered vignette for 10 days for Austria which seems a waste as this year we will be going through Austria on the way to Italy and not stopping. Also ordered Slovenian vignette for 7 days - even worse value as only going through Slovenia on the way to Croatia. However need them so payment made and looking forward to the holiday and counting the days down.


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