Sunday Strolls (3)

This week’s stroll was a hidden corner of Pembrokeshire, buried deep along country roads and single track lanes. I was convinced that I had visited Upton Castle before but none of it was in the least bit familiar so it was a real afternoon of unexpected discoveries.  Another Pembrokeshire castle with Norman origins but with little left to see now amongst the later 17th and 18th century developments. The castle is privately owned and not run by any of the usual organisations that own ancient monuments and buildings. As a result the feeling is of entering somewhere that is private, somewhere where it is a privilege to be allowed inside to explore.

The medieval chapel however is a real gem of tranquillity, with an abundance of 12th and 13th century stone effigies of knights and their ladies. The one I’ve chosen here shows some of the fine details and what looks like a tiny hand by the lady’s pillow. I’ve only noticed this whilst looking through the shots I took and, after taking another look at Upton’s website there’s also a tiny foot….. a baby perhaps? I wish I’d taken more notice while I was there….. this could mean a return visit I suspect, before they close down in October for the winter!

The gardens are full of delights…… a wonderful sunken, walled rose garden reached by steps down through a stone arch, where the perfume from the roses comes up to meet you……… a sheltered stone gazebo where you can  gaze out at eye level into the roses. An old stone workshop with overgrown windows which look onto the rose garden and leads through to the kitchen garden which is really more orchard. At the end the path leads out into the meadow with an abandoned shepherd’s hut and then into the woodland beyond. I loved the chair carved out of the dead tree trunk, although probably not the most comfortable of seats! The path divides to take you over a bridge and deeper into the woodland, but I took the other direction through the arboretum with its specimen trees.

Unfortunately there was no tea room to take a rest and enjoy the surroundings even more, so after an hour or so I had to move on!

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Memorial

Yesterday’s walk took me to the cemetery. It’s been on my list of places to visit for a while. In particular I was looking for my great-uncle’s grave. He died in 1920 as a result of illness following his service in WW1 and is buried in the small plot of war graves within the cemetery.

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As I had my camera with me I decided to wander while I was there and, even though I’ve known this place all my life, I came across one or two surprises. In particular another small memorial garden, this time to remember the victims of the Baedekar raids in April 1942. My city, like others in the UK, was targeted because of its inclusion in the Baedeker guides, as a place of historical interest. The garden is edged with simple rectangular plaques recording name, age and date of death – poignant memorials to the people who died on those nights. In this case all four plaques commemorate members of the same family.

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Parts of the cemetery are very old, with many Victorian headstones and memorials. It never bothers me walking around there – it was another favourite Sunday afternoon walk of my Mum’s, and we used it as a shortcut to other parts of the city…. the local hospital being one of our destinations whenever an elderly relative was ill – many of them would end up in the same cemetery! This time, with my ‘camera eye’ I was on the lookout for the quirky, or unusual. This slightly fallen angel appealed to me – it looks as though it’s hanging on with one hand!

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Despite the sadness of the place it was impossible to be downhearted. The sun was shining brightly again and the avenues of blossom were magnificent!

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