Reclaiming our Castles

The Chilterns has a number of castles, not all grand and serving cream teas, but structures that played an important part in the rise and fall of the fortunes of the nobility as well as those living in the surrounding countryside. I feel they have slipped from our collective conscious and need a boost, they need us to visit them, to feel their flinty walls, enjoy the wild flowers that have colonised the brick and stones and share our photos with our communities.

I have written about reclaiming two castles so far; Berkhamsted and Someries Castles, both scheduled ancient monuments, and will keep adding to this over time. Your suggestions, as ever, are most welcome.

Berkhamstead Castle

Seen mostly from commuter trains, I expect Berkhamsted castle is one of those landmarks that is just no longer noticed. A scheduled ancient monument, the castle had a lucky escape – not from French siege engines, but from those bringing a new prosperity to the Chilterns countryside.

Berkhamsted Castle
The walls that kept the trains out
Someries Castle

The ruined structure lies beside an old road between Luton and Kimpton, situated on a plateau of the Chilterns to the east of the Lea Valley. Everything about this place just feels weird. Why am I here, at the end of a dusty lane on the edge of a busy runway? To look at a mystery wrapped up within an enigma: Someries Castle, which is not in fact a castle, but a fortified Manor House. But I’m not fussy!

Reclaiming our castles
Exquisite detail in brick and flowers