Last weekend we squeezed in a couple of nights away before everywhere gets busy for Easter. We'd booked a room at The Compasses Inn which is a pub we've stayed in several times over the last 20-odd years. It's located in Lower Chicksgrove, a very small village (really just a string of houses) in Wiltshire: the pub serves really nice food and more importantly, really nice beer and has 4 bedrooms available. Crucially for us it's also dog-friendly so we were able to bring the hounds along and I can highly recommend it if you ever find yourself in that part of the country
|Lizzie testing the bed...|
Of course in among the eating and drinking we also wandered around the Wiltshire countryside and managed to squeeze in a couple of castles on the way. We nearly made it 3 but despite popping round to Old Wardour Castle twice we failed to get in...once because it was shut and once because it was booked for a wedding and was really busy!
Our first stop was Sherborne Old Castle...
This was initially built in the 12th century and was renovated by Sir Walter Raleigh who almost immediately became bored with it and built a new home nearby instead! During the English Civil War it was a Royalist castle and was besieged twice; eventually after a 16 day siege fell to Cromwell and Fairfax who described it as "malicious and mischievous". Not surprisingly there isn't a great deal left after they'd exacted their revenge but the ruins are still pretty impressive.
We then made our way to Cadbury Castle...also known as Camelet. There has been settlement here since Neolithic times but it was during the 1st century BC that the hill fort fortifications were started. It was re-fortified after the Roman withdrawal and evidence suggests it was occupied by a local Chieftain...hmmm...I wonder who that could have been...
|The panorama from the top, looking out over Somerset|
|Rain over Glastonbury...luckily not over us!|
|Some of the dips and folds from the earthworks|
|Trigger on the earthworks, preparing to repel the Romans|
|The very steep path...I'm clearly very unfit!|
Of course with a name like Camelet, local tradition has it that this was Camelot (cue Monty Python quotes...) and there is a theory that it was a base from which Arthur launched his attack at the Battle of Mount Badon which may or may not have been to the north near Bath. To be fair there isn't much evidence (or indeed any evidence) to back this up but who cares about that...I climbed to the top of Camelot!!
The path up to the top is short and very steep and both my wife and I were a bit breathless...embarrassingly we were passed by a very elderly man with a walking stick who didn't appear to be struggling at all!!