White Castle, nr Abergavenny

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Having missed out on many history trips over the summer, I was determined, whatever the weather, to indulge my habit on our recent flash dash to Wales. In the end the weather couldn’t have been better and the several layers of jumpers I started the day wearing, were gradually shed as temperatures reached summer heights!

Our first stop was to see White Castle. Having been to Grosmont and Skenfrith several times when I was much younger, I had somehow convinced myself that White Castle, which I’d never visited, wasn’t as good as it’s sister castles – how wrong could I be!

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Having returned home and read up a little, it seems I’m not alone in overlooking this incredible castle. All I can say is, I LOVE IT!

But the approach is along very narrow country lanes – if you’re familiar with rural Devon, this will feel like home, otherwise, take care.  Perhaps this explains why fewer people discover this formidable fortress.

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Still, fortune favours the brave, and once you get to the top of the hill where White Castle sits, you won’t regret the drive.

White Castle is a very well-preserved example of a military stronghold, built in stone after earth and timber origins, in the 12th and 13th centuries. Substantial amounts of the walls remain to almost their original height, which adds to the undoubtedly foreboding atmosphere inside the castle. This is definitely not a castle to indulge your romantic fantasies about troubadours and maidens, there’s no mistaking White Castle for anything other than a fortress.

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Take a look at the thickness of those walls, and the very narrow arrow slits. Being stationed here can’t have been a barrel of laughs.

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Even today, the stones seem to ooze testosterone.

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But having said that, today, it’s impossible not to be overawed by the sheer beauty of the position, the countryside it sits so firmly on top of, and the scale of the stone building that remains. In its survival, it has earned a romantic element it certainly wasn’t built with.

The inner stronghold is both dramatic and enticing – well it is if you’re a history junkie like me…

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Every good castle should have a serious moat, don’t you think…

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A moat with a view…

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You won’t be surprised to know that White Castle was given by King Henry III to his son Edward in 1254 – and subsequently strengthened by him. Edward I has certainly left us an array of incredibly awe-inspiring castles to set our history fetishes tingling.

There’s more about visiting at the Cadw site here and more historical background here. Enjoy!

I am currently trying to make some changes to this site which I hope will eventually make it a bit more useful, but it’s slow going and I’m very much learning as I go along, so thanks for bearing with me, sorry if it looks a bit odd when you visit here from time to time – I’ll get there in the end…

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7 thoughts on “White Castle, nr Abergavenny

  1. Helen Devries says:

    I enjoyed your visit almost as much as you…I’m not au courant with the Welsh Marches, but having followed the links I can see I’ll have some enjoyable reading ahead of me…

    • Anny says:

      Oh Helen, I really think you’d love the whole area – it has mountains, valleys, rivers, enough castles, pre-historic sites and ruined abbeys to fill a life-time and Hay-on-Wye, so always a book when you want one – my idea of heaven!

      • Helen Devries says:

        I’nm not sure that I’d get past Hay on Wye then! Oddly enough when we were looking into permanent house swapping we had an offer from someone with a lovely house in the Wye Valley….but the owner hummed and haahed so much that in the end we let it drop.

  2. Jo Woolf says:

    What a fantastic place, Anny! I must have missed this when you first posted it (like Fountains Abbey). I have never been to White Castle, but it looks a wonderfully impressive ruin. Sometimes the most overlooked places are the ones that retain most of their atmosphere.

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