Approaching Christmas and time to explore some of my local Churches or so I thought.

One of my interests is to visit old churches to enjoy the architecture both inside and out, today I decided to look at 3 local churches within Southampton. I am not religious but enjoy the tranquillity within the churches.(when I can get inside) I understand why but increasingly I find church doors locked, this was my experience today even with the approach of Christmas I was greeted by locked doors.

church1church yard

My first visit was to The Church of St Mary’s in the Parish of South Stoneham I thought I was in luck when I walked up the drive reading the sign Welcoming me to the Church and stating ” A place of prayer, worship, community and pilgrimage since the 12 century”. Set in its own churchyard the church was interesting. despite the sign the church was locked.

On into the city centre and The Parish Church of Southampton St Michael’s I entered through the large wooden door thinking things were looking up this time I was met by an inner glass screen with a door telling me pushed to open, unsuccessful it was also locked !!!.

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OK, down the road to the bombed out Holly Rood Church which is now a merchant navy memorial since its bombing in WW2 by German Air Force. Several memorials are inside the ruined church including one for the Falklands War.

So with no roof and thanks to Hitler’s attempts to destroy the City of Southampton I finally got a moment of tranquillity inside a Church today.

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(Visits & Trips of Yesterday ) The Chattri

Many people are aware of the Brighton  Royal Pavilion and its Indian design. Due to this it was used as a Hospital in the first world war. for Indian Troops. 1.5 million Indian soldiers saw active service on the Western Front in WW1. some 12,000 were wounded. 53 of the servicemen who died in Brighton were Sikh & Hindu, respecting their religious needs they were cremated on the South Downs close to Patchham (their ashes then being then scattered in the sea).

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At the cremation site is a war memorial called The Chattri as the monument is known was unveiled in 1921 by the Prince of Wales.

Today this war memorial is well worth the walk on the Downs across farm land  to its isolated & tranquil location a good spot to reflect on what this memorial means.

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Priddy’s Hard

dock crane

Priddy’s Hard is part of Gosport opposite the Royal Naval Dockyard at Portsmouth in Hampshire, for some 200 years it was a restricted area 1st developed as a fort it later became an armaments depot (around 1777) for the Royal Navy basically a massive weapons and explosives store. Much of the site is now redeveloped as housing but some of the most interesting building are part of the explosions museum and open to the public.

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Looking Out for raiders.

A few miles from Lee on the Solent, at Meon shore is the remains of this WW2 bunker / outlook on a small sandstone cliff it is just hanging on  its foundations are starting to be exposed due to coastal erosion and I am sure it will go over the edge in the next few years. looking out on Southampton Water towards the Fawley Power Station which is also now redundant and about to be demolished.  A few years ago there were 2 of these structures but today only one remains. Picture taken November 2014.

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view from bunker

view from bunker

(Visits and Trips of Yesterday) Looking out to sea, another place.

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Another Place is an iconic artwork by Antony Gormley. It is made up of some 100 cast iron figures situated across an area of sandy beach at Crosby The figures – each weighing 650 kilos – are made from casts of the artist’s own body and are shown at different stages of rising out of the sand, all of them looking out to sea, They remind me of something from Dr Who about to come to life. They are well worth a visit if you are in the area.

Into Welsh Mountains

Another wet day so a drive up the valley to Brecon and the mountain centre. Came across a ruined iron works in the  lower valley before getting into the Brecons .Now overgrown called Clydach  in was a nice short stroll between showers.

copy of picture of iron works as it was -drawing from sign at site

copy of picture of iron works as it was -drawing from sign at site

iron works today

iron works today

iron works

bridge across the river to iron works

bridge across the river to iron works

Brecon's in the rain

Brecon’s in the rain

No Deck Chairs for hire today

Seaside visit today Barry Island offered the industrial Welsh in the past a oasis from the valleys and pits and although it lacks the charm of isolated seaside coves it retains a character of  bygone days surprisingly many of the beach side cafes were open catering for the many dog walkers. Big dogs and little dogs enjoying the beach, most seem a little portly possibly due to elderly owners spending longer in the cafes and tea shops rather than walking their mutts.
Down near Ogmore is a poorly sign posted dead end hamlet of Merthyr Mawr where the remains of Candelston Castle a fortified tower house similar to those seen in Scotland. Other photos today show Nash Point Lighthouses and foghorn.castle

walking the dog Barry Island beach

walking the dog Barry Island beach

No Deck Chairs on the beach today

No Deck Chairs on the beach today

nash point

nash point lighthouse

Back in to Wales, Chepstow and more

Set off for few days holiday in The Vale of Glamorgan South Wales. Leaving the cat and our son to look after the house, we booked a cottage on a farm a little in land from the sea. (hope mum & dad enjoy this holiday blog as they were due to come with us and due to dad being a bit poorly they decided to sit this one out and enjoy this trip remotely). So from home direct to Wales across the old Severn bridge stopping at Chepstow and a visit to the castle. Located on a cliff above the River Wye this grand castle is said to be the oldest surviving post Roman Castle in Britain. This castle has some of the best old doors I have ever seen. Close to the castle car park is the grade 1 listed old road bridge built in 1816 this cast iron bridge was designed by John Rennie in the Regency Period but modified by bridge builder John Rastrick.

From Chepstow onto the Roman Town of Caerwent. The main road through the village follows the Roman road. Much of the original town walls survive as does many of the foundations of the Roman Buildings.

After early history we move on to with a return visit to Newport Transporter Bridge now closed for the winter and pass various Steel Works and other industrial sites on onto our holiday cottage.

5 Kestrels seen today which was nice as no longer see them very often at home.

Chepstow Castle

Chepstow Castle

Old Castle door

Old Castle door

Chepstow Castle

Chepstow Castle

Chepstow Castle

Chepstow Castle

old mill stone Chepstow Castle

old mill stone Chepstow Castle

old bridge Chepstow

old bridge Chepstow

Roman Town Walls

Roman Town Walls

looking up at the transporter bridge recalling my last visited when I walked up and over there !!

looking up at the transporter bridge recalling my last visited when I walked up and over there !!

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge is known to everyone (I think) It is an icon of London. Many people may not be aware there is a museum within the Bridge.

An iron frame bridge is clad in stone to hide the bridge frame and workings. Inside the working of the bridge are old boilers engines and vast girders riveted together.

You can walk across the river high above the road way the only disappointment was that these walkways are enclosed today in glass so you do not get the feel of the wind high above the River Themes (but there were some windows you could open to take pictures out of)Tower Bridge2Tower Bridge

out of the window

out of the window

Tower Bridge3Tower Bridge4London 108London 272a