BBYAC May 2015 – A quest for medieval Brecon!

In our May session we went on walk around Brecon with our eyes peeled, looking for the remains of the castle and the town walls, and other clues about this historic town. Did you know that there was a castle or that Brecon was a walled town? Well, hopefully lots of our members now do!

We started out at Brecon Cathedral and walked down Priory Hill towards the centre of town.

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Did we have a map? Yes we did. Everyone had a copy of map of Brecon which was drawn in 1580. The map showed the castle and the town walls and would hopefully help us on our quest.

S0011927The 1580 map

There was quite a lot of traffic and we had to be careful going through town. We soon arrived at the site of the North Gate and tried to imagine that we were stepping into the walled town hundreds of years ago.

IMAG0667At the North Gate – no traces left today, but what is there beneath our feet?

We turned right along Castle Street which led us up to the castle! We paused on the bridge over the River Honddu to take some photos and to set the scene and then we walked up towards the site of the castle.

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On the Honddu Bridge – believe it or not. behind us in the trees is the remains of the motte and bailey castle!

The castle motte is still there, it isn’t very easy to see through the trees though. We looked at our map and found out some facts about the castle. The castle became a hotel 200 years ago when there was growth in the number of stage coaches and people began to enjoy travelling and exploring the country.

IMAG0678The Castle Hotel, a 18th century coaching inn, now occupies much of the site of the medieval castle

Our walk took us down to the bridge over the River Usk and we could look back up at the castle and appreciate what a good defensive location it is. Anyone up on the castle walls would have been able to look right across the town in one direction and out across the countryside in the other and see exactly what was going on.

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A good defensive position

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We continued along Captains Walk which follows the line of the town wall and discovered that some of the wall has been altered to become quite smart garden walls. The weather was very kind to us and the walk alongside the river was very pleasant. We crossed the road near the museum and had a look at one of the only parts of the town wall still in existence. You could get a feeling for the height of the wall here.

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But time was running out and we headed back to the canal marina and then along the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal to the Subud Hall where we were all glad to have refreshments after our long walk. All the photos were taken by branch members and very good photos they were too. We have some good photographers in our branch.

We all had a great time!

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