Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The Not So Forgotten Ruins

We love to visit places of historical interest including castles, stately homes, forts etc and are members of English Heritage.

I’ve previously written about some of my favourite English Heritage locations such as Kenilworth Castle, Audley End and Dover Castle, but more recently we have been taking a look at some of their ‘lesser’ sites.

In addition to a selection of grand houses and imposing structures, English Heritage manage some smaller sites, which consist of ancient ‘ruins’, which are often free to visit for members and non-members alike.

One such site is St Olave’s Priory in Norfolk, which includes a well-kept, brick-vaulted refectory undercroft (14th Century) amongst the remains of the original priory walls. This is a great little site, though it’s a bit tricky to find. We didn’t spot any signs marking its location, but eventually found it in the corner of the Priory Farm Restaurant car park – logical I suppose, if not obvious.

Burgh Castle, even this photo doesn't do it justice
Also in Norfolk, we visited Burgh Castle, which was much easier to find thanks to a series of useful brown signs. After parking our car in the small, neat car park, we wandered across the fields to find what we had presumed to be minor ruins, as the only photo that we had seen showed a small section of wall against the backdrop of the Norfolk Broads. However, the sight that met our eyes was much more amazing – huge, imposing walls – the remains of a Roman Fort. We ate our picnic in this stunning setting, gazing at the view depicted in that original photo that we’d seen and really enjoyed our time spent there.

Back on a smaller scale, Caister Roman Fort is situated on Norwich Road, Caister, but be careful not to drive past as we did first time round. Sitting unassumingly at the roadside, the remains of this fort are well worth a view as they include evidence of the hypocaust, underfloor heating system.

We really enjoyed our tour of the more minor English Heritage sites in Norfolk and intend to visit more similar ones around the country.

For more about English Heritage, including membership and a full list of properties, visit english-heritage.org.uk

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