Walking in the footsteps of Dr Who…

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If you’re wondering which castle was featured in the previous post, it was Chepstow Castle, perched high up on cliffs overlooking the River Wye.

As I mentioned back there too, I’m going to try posting visits as pages here rather than posts, which I hope will mean that eventually, it will be possible to search for them more easily than it is at present – please bear with me on this though, it’s a slow process.

So, if you’d like to read about Chepstow and discover the Dr Who connection, click on this link – Chepstow Castle and you should go straight there.

Happy 2015…

Well what a strange few months I’ve been having. My almost total absence – again – from Mists of Time probably tells you that I’m still not getting out and about for any indulgent history trips. I’m sure all these things are cyclical and that eventually the opportunities to go out exploring will return, but for now, it’s a bit bleak on the field trips front.

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Still, if I can’t get about too much, at least that gives me time to make a few more changes around the website. The main thing that I’d really like to do, which so far I’m failing miserably at, is to find a way to convert previous posts to pages. The hassle with trying to locate old posts is frustrating and I’d like to make it easier to find posts about specific locations other than using the search widget. To date, it seems that the only way a techno-newbie like me is going to do it, is to laboriously copy and past – which I might do if the weather deteriorates, but to be honest, I’d almost rather pull out my own fingernails.

So, what I might opt for instead, is to just set up future posts about specific places as pages – which over time will be better – in my opinion, but will obviously take some time to build up – perhaps a very long time at current rates of visits!

I’ve changed theme again, to use one which I hope will eventually make it a whole lot easier to navigate – thanks to all the lovely people at WordPress for giving us a supply of fabulous themes – a bit of New Year tidying.

And so after all that – I thought I’d just mention that thanks to the special offers on the Kindle over Christmas and also thanks to a couple of lucky shopping trips to our local Oxfam, I have at least stocked up on several history books which I hope will keep me entertained until I get out again. The list is…

  • The Hollow Crown – Dan Jones (The Wars of the Roses)
  • Blazing Star – Alexander Larman (John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester)
  • The Knight Who Saved England – Richard Brooks (William Marshall)
  • Joan of Arc – Helen Castor (self-explanatory)
  • The Winter King – Thomas Penn (Henry VII)

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I hope you’re all managing to have plenty of adventures in history. My one resolution (I’m not really a resolution sort of girl, but this is my exception), is to get back to finding the time to read and enjoy my favourite history bloggers in 2015 – things have been so up in the air and distracting recently, that I’ve only been able to keep a passing eye on  your fantastic posts. I’ve missed it – this year I’m going to get back in the swing.

So, until the next time – Happy New Year, here’s to a history full 2015.

Oh, and if you can tell where all the photos in this post were taken, you’ll know which castle is the next to feature here…

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Back soon!

Top 5 historic places that can make you happy

Heritage Calling

This year’s Heritage Counts reveals that visiting different types of historic places can have a positive impact on our general wellbeing and happiness. The results found a significant relationship between life satisfaction and visiting heritage, from historic towns to archaeological sites, and for the first time ever have identified the types of heritage sites that can have the most positive impact on our quality of life.

5. Archaeological Sites

ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE- EH PROPERTYWharram Percy, North Yorkshire, cared for by English Heritage

Archaeological sites offer a world of mystery and romanticism so it’s no surprise that visiting a place like Wharram Percy can have a positive impact on our wellbeing. These sites give us a glimpse into the lives of our ancestors and can make us feel connected to our past. There are many archaeological societies running community archaeology digs in local areas and the Council for British Archaeology have interesting events and projects listed on their website.

4. Historic Places of Worship

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Tintern Abbey, Gwent.

Our recent jaunt to Wales included a trip to Tintern Abbey.

We’d visited White Castle earlier on the same day, which I’d enjoyed enormously, it felt like such a rare find. Although both the Other Half and I had been to Tintern previously, neither of the Daughters had ever been, and as we were so close, we decided to drive there next.

I was a little nervous about it. I hadn’t been to Tintern for so long, I assumed it would have become an even bigger and more commercialised attraction than it had been way back in the 1970s (which was the last time I went). My experience with Fountains Abbey, where so much about the visitor experience has altered over the years, must have been playing at the back of my mind.

But when we got there, having hugged the route of the marvellous River Wye, I wasn’t disappointed. Tintern has retained its gothic charm.

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If I’m honest, Tintern doesn’t exactly ignite my heritage juices in the way some other ruins do. I’m not sure why that is, after all it has everything you’d expect, I just don’t seem to be able to ‘tune in‘ to the history there.

But there’s no denying the magnificence of the ruins or the scale of the building that must have stood on the site before the Reformation struck there in September 1536.

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But don’t let my peculiar vagaries put you off. Tintern, the first Cistercian foundation in Wales, which dates from 1131, is undoubtedly magnificent. I was particularly interested in the fact that you get a good appreciation of the buildings that adjoined the principle church, and this in turn gives you an excellent understanding of the way of life of the monks who lived and worshipped there in medieval times.

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For me, I think perhaps this was the best part of the visit, and the information boards here are very good, which does help stimulate the imagination.

The BBC have recently aired several programmes on a gothic theme. Well, Tintern could easily claim to have been a pioneer in the trend to establish the genre in the popular imagination. It has featured in the works of Wordsworth and Turner, and indeed many other artists and filmmakers ever since.

And I wonder if that is the special quality of TIntern. Many ruins are atmospheric for me, because they feel like portals into the past, whereas at Tintern, I get the feeling that although its original purpose has changed, it has gone on to have a new life. It may have started life in the 12th century, but it’s still fuelling artistic imaginations 900 years later. Tintern seems to look both backwards into history and also forward into the future.

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I must go back again.

For visitor information go to the Cadw site for full details.

There are lovely pubs and tearooms nestling beside the Abbey – still a great place for a day out.