As I left the hotel this morning I had sort of a plan formed in my mind. The first part worked out well in the morning, with a visit to two locations, Caen Hill Locks and Old Wardour Castle. However, in the afternoon it did not quite go to plan exactly.
There were a couple of interesting sites today. One I spotted while driving through the countryside, was a large sign where a dirt road crossed a Bitumen road. The Sign read, “Warning Tanks Crossing”, I may have stopped for a photo but it was not a very practical location.
The second was my first stop for the morning just near to Devizes. The site is Caen Hill Locks and is a series of 29 lock gates. The series of locks allows boats to traverse the canal which has a rather significant change in elevation at this point. The photo below is from the top of the lock gates. The bottom is a better view but there is very limited places to stop here.
While driving I have been heavily relying on the GPS unit I got with the car. I would have had no hope of getting far without it I think. However, it does also result in some interesting choices. An example is when I arrived at this gate with the GPS suggesting the route was to travel through this gate. It is quite an interesting landmark, but also does not appear to be a public road.
Although I followed the GPS through the gate, it is a difficult part of driving in England. I just never knew if I was on a public or private road, often finding myself on small single lane country laneways. I managed to make it to Old Wardour Castle in the end, and the GPS was spot on getting me there.
Old Wardour Castle
Old Wardour Castle while far from complete has much more remaining than Farleigh Hungerford Castle. There was again an audio tour here, and it is much more realistic when you have walls around you. As opposed to trying to imagine the walls from the footprint of the castle.
The audio tour takes you around the castle and inside to explore the ruins. All the time explaining where you would have been and what the particular area you are in would have been used for. It does give you a feeling for what living here might have been like. There is enough of the ruins been made safe to climb the stairs to what would have been the fourth floor.
From the above image, it does look like Old Wardour Castle is in significant disrepair. However, this is somewhat hard to tell from the image. There are numerous rooms you can still walk through, and as mentioned portions of the uppermost floor still intact.
There is another feature on the site as well which is quite interesting to explore. The Grotto sits opposite the main entrance to the castle on the hillside. The stones look to a large degree to be placed haphazardly, however they do sort of form small areas. There are a number of small walkways and hollows in the stone work with seats in.
Onward To Plymouth
Originally I had planned to visit Dartmouth Castle in the afternoon today. However, there was one thing that I had not allowed for. The drive time between places in England can be quite significant at times.
While there are highways and such between places. There is also plenty of places that are off the beaten path. Especially when you are visiting old heritage sights it would seem. I might have left Old Wardour Castle at 11.30am. However, by the time I had found some lunch and arrived in Plymouth it was late afternoon.
It turns out that there were two problems in visiting Dartmouth Castle. The first was that I made the false assumption it was close to my hotel in Plymouth. The second I had not correctly checked the opening times and it was not open at this time of year. Anyway, I might be able to share a picture of the castle tomorrow.