Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Slochteren, Netherlands.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Papenburg, Germany.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Castles in Wales

The official Wales website says that there are over 600 castles in Wales. That is more per square mile than any other country in the world. When you figure that Wales is about the size of the state of Massachusetts, that's a lot of castles!

Where we are staying is less than two miles from the border of Wales, and we visited there yesterday.

We planned a 4.5 mile (7.2 km) hike starting at the village of Skenfrith, just across the border. The village has it's own castle, but on the drive there we spotted another castle in the village of Grosmont and made a note to stop in there on the way back.

There's not much left of Skenfrith Castle, built between 1228 and 1232. Really, just the wall and a central tower.

Inside the tower.

From the village of Skenfrith, Wales our walk took us back across the border into England and through the valley and along an old track. Cars are actually allowed on this track that went up to the village of Garway, but we only encountered two vehicles.

One of the attractions along this hike was the Church of St. Michael near the village of Garway. Originally one of only six churches in England built by the Knights Templar on land given to the order by King Henry II in the 12th century. It is an unusual church in that the tower and the main structure were built separated and they were only joined together in the 15th century.

Built around the year1200!

The interior is a little crooked. And notice that the floor to the altar doesn't line up either.

The Chancel Arch, separating the nave from the chancel has stood for 800 years!

The altar stone has a story to tell...

Our route took us through a cow pasture.

Hmm, those clouds are looking awfully dark!

Helen, helping lift Chester over one of the stiles. Not all stiles are made to be dog friendly! Harvey had stayed at home for the afternoon. He doesn't like getting into cars, and we had taken him for a nice walk in the morning.

It never did rain, but it was obviously raining in the distance. On our drive back home, we stopped in at Grosmont Castle, another 12th century ruins.

Now this is a castle. At one point it had a moat and a drawbridge and everything a castle should have!

Kevin and the ruins of the tower.

Ruth and Tony exploring the ruins.

Grosmont Castle.

I think they should fill the moat with water!

Entering the village of Grosmont. I thought the sign was a little odd.

And today, we're doing an 8 mile (12.9 km) hike on the border that follows the eastern edge of the Black Mountains of Brecon Beacons National Park.


  1. Hey guys I know I haven't commented much lately but we are with you everyday and enjoying your trip. Try to squeeze in a stop at the Ranch on your way from Ontario to Mexico, with the kids gone we have a guest room so you can couchsurf without Sherman, e miss you guys. Be safe out there, Sam & donna

    1. Thanks for following along Sam and Donna. Hope you are having a great time at the rally. We still not sure of our route down to Mexico but if we pass by you can be sure we will stop in. Take care.

  2. Now exploring the castles really sounds like fun!

  3. Wow, this is awesome - checking out the castles - what fun!

  4. And to think all those castles were built by just man power! I guess you can do a lot when there was no Internet... ;c)

    1. All built by man power and look how long they have survived! Can't even imagine life without internet anymore.

  5. Love the Knights Templar Church and history.

  6. Great pictures. I have not spent much time in Wales, so clearly need to make a tour like yours:)

  7. Castles always catch my attention. You can stand there and dream about what may have taken place there hundreds of years ago.


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