Greetings Fellow Adventurers!
It was a very (very) windy day in March when we took the Ratmobile for a jaunt down to Wiltshire, in order to visit the stunning castle and hillfort of Old Sarum.
On the way down we stopped at a garden centre for a much needed break from the driving (I was being pushed around all over the place by the wind), and this brings me to a bit of advice I wanted to mention. If you’re travelling in the UK and in need of a cup of tea, and are not too fussed where you find it, it’s always worth looking out for garden centres or even the larger supermarkets – the cafes can be really good (and cheap), and they often have ‘facilities’ for those that need them after a long drive – it’s worth remembering.
Location: Wiltshire (near Salisbury)
Total distance traveled: 190 miles
Total time at the wheel: 3 hours 30 minutes
Packets of square crisps eaten: 8
Website: English Heritage’s website
We arrived shortly after our cuppa, and drove up the entrance road that winds up through the impressive walls and ditches of the ancient Iron Age fort.
The hillfort is thought to have been erected around 400 BC, with the site continuing to be occupied right through the Roman occupation of Britain. The Saxons continued to use the fort and later used it as a stronghold against marauding Vikings. After the invasion of 1066, the Normans constructed a ‘motte and bailey’ castle within the fort’s walls, along with a stone curtain wall and a great cathedral. A royal palace was built within the castle in the reign of King Henry I and the castle was subsequently used by monarchs right through the Medieval period.
For more on the History of Old Sarum – see my wife’s excellent blog post here.
Lunch was partaken in the car – owing to the wind – we thought this wise as we didn’t want our salad to end up in Salisbury, as we thought the residents might object. Afterwards, we sallied forth across the drawbridge in search of adventures… (and the gift shop).
After a goodly few hours of wandering about, climbing over ruins and fighting the winds, we finally called it a day and with frozen fingers headed back to the Ratmobile. We’d been there all day, thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and seen loads – but we still hadn’t explored the paths around the outer ditch properly – next time!
On the way back we drove past this strange pile of stones, seemed a bit of an odd thing to build next to a road…
…Anyone recognise it?
Farewell my friends!