Saturday 29 April 2017

Bovine Encounter and a View to Die For, literally.

Ever since we moved AmyJo to Tattenhall we promised ourselves we would one day make the climb up to Beeston Castle.  Today, with the weather looking settled and whilst we're moored nearby we decided we would fullfill that promise.

After lunch we packed a backpack with water and Smudge's treats and set off with Smudge along the towpath to Wharton's Lock.  Here a turnstile leads onto a footpath across fields to the castle.

There is a convenient tunnel under the nearby railway that is gated either side.  On the far side are more fields, the first containing cows.  Now neither Chris nor I have been up close to cows until today and this particular herd took a bit more interest in Smudge than I like and so we pushed on keeping him on a short lead.   It was a bit frightening when a dozen of them decided to follow us trying to get to Smudge who was happily trying to play tag with them.  Luck was with us and another dog walker appeared and the cows seemed to prefer their Collie more so we made our escape.  Perhaps Lisa's David on WaL (What a Lark) could advise how to deal with inquisitive cows please?

Having survived the cows we neared the castle hill
 There is a lovely manicured farm house at the foot of the hill, in fact, the farm is the neatest and most well kept we have ever seen.  Not a blade of grass out of place.

The bowling green lawn outside the farm house
 The entrance to the castle grounds is via an impressive gate house that also serves and a gift shop.  Here you can buy anything from a pen to a full suit of armour, though I would not recommend the latter as its to darn heavy to lug back to the boat.

The castle gatehouse
The climb up to the summit is quite gentle at first but don't be fooled as it steepens the further up you go.  Clearly designed to wear out attackers before they reached their goal, however, even half way up the views are to die for.  I reckon many an attacker died on their way and as would see these views.  A view to literally die for.  Its clear to see why the castle is so located.

Only a third the way up

but still one can see for miles
 The last section to the inner Bailey is the steepest by far.  One certainly gets to work ones lunch off getting to the top but persevere the prize at the top is well worth the hike.  They do provide strategically placed benches to rest along the way.  They are quite comfy too!

The main castle keep atop the hill

And steeper approach ramp over a very steep drop.
 On reaching the summit your are greeting with amazing views of the Cheshire plain from the Wirral right across to Wales.

A zoomed in view of the Shady Oak and the canal where AmyJo hides behind the larger tree

A panorama of the Welsh hills
According to Wikipedia Beeston Castle is a former Royal castle, perched on a rocky sandstone crag 350 feet (107 m) above the Cheshire Plain. It was built in the 1220s by Ranulf de Blondeville, 6th Earl of Chester on his return from the Crusades. In 1237, Henry III took over the ownership of Beeston, and it was kept in good repair until the 16th century, when it was considered to be of no further military use, although it was pressed into service again in 1643, during the English Civil War. The castle was partly demolished in 1646, in accordance with Cromwell's destruction order, to prevent its further use as a stronghold.
Not a lot left  and you can just make out Peckforton Castle nearby
 A final look round before we left and we spotted Tattenhall Marina in the distance.

The marina is centre and canal on the right

Were these the doors to the main hall perhaps?

Wall of the outer Bailey

The castle is now in obvious ruins. The walls of the outer bailey, along with the walls and gatehouse of the inner bailey, are separately recorded in the National Heritage List for England as designated Grade I listed buildings. The castle is also a Scheduled Ancient Monument, owned by English Heritage. It is rumoured that treasure belonging to Richard II lies undiscovered in the castle grounds, but the many searches that have been carried out have failed to find any trace of it. Quite surprising when you consider during the 18th century the site was used as a quarry.

One of the caves formed by quarrying

 Close up view of the hill taken on our way back to AmyJo
Retracing our route back we were relieved to find the cows had moved far over the other side of the field and were oblivious to our presence.   We then collapsed in the chair for a well earned rest.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

I am late in seeing this!! Now then cows, if they have calves, DON'T GO IN THE FIELD WITH A DOG.

If they are all young, then just Shoo them away. Should you be surrounded by cows and have a dog on a lead, let go of the dog, the dog will for sure outrun the cows and the cows will probably follow the dog, allowing you to make a hasty getaway.
If in doubt, find another path.

Years ago David took me, his three children, extended family and friends on Boxing Day through a field, half way through I nudged him and said.... "David, is that a bull bellowing and pawing the ground...?"
"Yes, just keep walking" I still consider that a brush with death!
Happy Walking!!!!!