Magical Mystery Tour
This Sunday I set out on an adventure in my little Scarlett ZiZi (my car) on a magical mystery tour. I had summery music (and later an Agatha Christie play) on the radio, my camera and the weather on my side.
I rapidly removed myself from the motorways that seem to zig-zag everywhere across Greater Manchester and Cheshire and found myself in a small village – peppered with Tudor cottages like an episode of Midsomer Murders – and there on a hill was a castle. A perpetual fan of ruins and castles, and armed with English Heritage and National Trust cards I pressed on and came upon the ruins of Beeston Castle.
The ‘Castle of the Rock’ was begun in the 1220s by Ranulf, Earl of Chester, built on the ruins of a much older Iron-Age fort. The Castle occupied a major defensive position over the main routes from the north west and the midlands to the south of England. It was also an important base for the English (Edward I) to launch attacks on the Welsh.
As a Welsh person I’m not sure how I should take that, but I will say the ruins occupied a fantastic spot. You could see for miles from the inner-bailey which is perched on top of a hill and is only accessible by a narrow bridge which goes over a deep ditch.
It was a steep climb to the top, but worth it – though there is very little left of the castle – it was seriously damaged during the Civil War apparently.
After my trip to Beeston I kept driving down pretty roads until I realised must be close to Much Wenlock. This led me on a hunt for Lutwyche Hall in Easthope, bit only after ham, egg and chips in a country pub. The house is private – but does have a foot-path running through the grounds. This used to run right outside the house – but apparently has been diverted (as I soon learned wen I wandered down the wrong path and was advised that the new path was a little further over – oops). The house is under a fair bit of scaffolding at the moment unfortunately, but I did get one picture which I shall compare against my early 20th Century postcard when I get a chance.
As magic mystery tours go, it was quite pleasant. There are very few things more sublime than being able to drive off on an adventure – seeking interesting places and things to look at on a sunny day. Many of my best memories have come out of magical mystery tours.