Saturday, October 10, 2009

Motte & Bailey Health Walk Erddig Grounds Oct 09

Heading off around the grounds of Erddig with Aaron following the map. Fred our dog on his lead. We firstly passed the West front of the house. This used to be the main entrance to the house.

Turning off onto the track that leads you through the kissing gate we headed for the pleasure grounds and the woodland.

Our walk was to take us to the very old Motte and Bailey. Around 1718 works `at ye castle walks` and the planting of hornbeam suggest the creation of extended pleasure grounds linking the gardens to Castell - y - Glyn, the Motte and Bailey.

We turned off the main path heading into the woodland. Heading through Wats Dyke which can be seen as an earthen work mound the dyke was a line of demarcation for the Mercia region and ran along the weston border of the town. Remnants of the dyke can be found throughout the park.

The woodland walk was lovely. The autumn leaves of gold and bronze littered the floor. Fred had a great time rummaging amongst the leaves.

Next stop was what we came to see the Motte and Bailey. This area is believed to be the castle of Wristleham mentioned in the Pipe Rolls of AD 1161. This fortress is likely to have been constructed out of timber leaving no visible signs today other than the mounds of the motte and the bailey. ( pictured below ) From the top of the motte views can be gained over three valleys making this an ideal site for the fortress. On the bailey is an avenue of beech trees that emulates the formal walks designed by Emes int eh 18th century. ( the avenue is pictured above )

We headed around the motte and bailey back towards the pleasure grounds. Below we came across an old swamp with Lily pads. This remained us of Sherek the movie it was an ideal setting for him to pop out from.
The pleasure grounds accurately depicted in the engraving by the Badeslade abd Toms of 1739, and show formal tree planting, horse or deer grazing paddocks, and spiral path to the summit of Castell-y-Glyn. Records show further development and planting until 1850`s, when the original design was subsumed into woodland.

The east front view ( pictured below ) is probably the most well known of Erddig. The ironwork gate and screen were produced by Davis Bros of Wrexham. Erected in the early 1700s they cost £150 11s 6d and weighed 56 tons. In front of the screen is the ha-ha, a landscaping device to keep out stock but allow unimpeded views.

Near the end of the walk comes the Dovecote. ( pictured below ) The tall, octagonal, brick built dovecote with domers, dates from 1739 and is inhabited by white pigeons. The dovecote combines elegance with utility. The interior walls are lined walls are lined with nest holes

This was a wonderful walk on such a lovely autumn day. We all enjoyed it including Fred the dog. We met some lovely people along the way.

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