Day 04 01-05-2014 Thu Ashford

It did not take long for the true character of British weather to manifest itself: the day started out raining. However it did not in the least affect our decision to press on regardless. The last three days have shown us that conditions can be very localised.

Our plan today was to visit Bodiam Castle and Sissinghurst Gardens. We managed both visits without getting wet.

On the way to Bodiam we stopped in a little village to view the 12th century church. It had some superb stained glass windows of probably Victorian vintage. It is usually very difficult to get a good images of stained glass, so I was delighted by the ones I got today.

IMG_9801 IMG_9803 IMG_9804 IMG_9798 IMG_9799On the way to Bodiam, we stopped briefly in Battle to kill some time until Bodiam Castle opened. We were pleased to find that the Australian ”flat white” has percolated into rural East Sussex, via the Costa chain of coffee shops. Thanks for this tip Andy.

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Bodiam is a quintessential storybook castle dating from the latter part of the 14th century. Although fortified, it was built mainly as a family home, and has never seen conflict. The murder holes for the pouring of molten tar and other unpleasant materials were in vain.

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Barbican island
Barbican island
The Murder Holes
The Murder Holes
The Murder Holes
The Murder Holes

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The castle well
The castle well

We were given an informative talk by a costumed National Trust volunteer about period food and arrows used for hunting and war.

 

One of the wonderful volunteers, in period costume
One of the wonderful volunteers, in period costume

Sissinghurst castle and gardens were not far away. This estate was owned by Vita Sackville-West and her partner Harold Nicolson. They were poets, authors, book reviewers and of course gardeners. They bought the estate in the 1930s and created an amazing garden distinctive for its use of colour and scent. It is said to be one of the most beautiful gardens in England.

Castle

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Gardens and Flowers

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