March 3, 2010 by xwidep (Phil)
As it was Saint David’s day this week I thought Explore England’s England would have a Welsh slant – the English Welsh border is awash with Castles and history that either side of the border should be equally proud of but the particular area I am going to concentrate on today is the Wye Valley in Herefordshire.
A place which is a very fond one of mine is Goodrich Castle
Standing high on a rock above the River Wye, Goodrich Castle is a most striking ruin, the original ‘Godric’s Castle’ was established in the late 11th Century but the castle remains, that you can visit today, date mainly from the 12th and 13th centuries.
Goodrich became an important link in the chain of castles surrounding Wales during Edward 1st’s campaign against the rebellious Welsh; the thick high walls and rocky foundations made the castle very strong and importantly its position; dominating an ancient ford (river crossing) on the River Wye, meant it was also in a great strategic position.
The mortar, which was designed to fire 200 lb projectiles, is the only surviving Civil War mortar, she can now be seen sited in the grounds of Goodrich Castle, returning more than 350 years after she had done the ruinous deed, ironically the mortar was cast at the nearby Goodrich Furnace, established in 1575, by the Earl of Shrewsbury, at that time the owner of the Goodrich Castle.
The castle is believed to be haunted by the spirits of two lovers, Alice Birch, the niece of Parliamentarian Colonel John Birch, and Charles Clifford, the son of a Royalist commander. Both Alice and Charles caught up in the castle when the siege began fled from the besieging forces and drowned in the River Wye as they tried to cross the ford at ‘Goodrich Boat’. During stormy nights it is said that their ghostly figures can still be seen attempting to complete their tragic escape.
Goodrich Castle is now managed by English Heritage and is open to the public all year; it is a great place to visit in stunning English countryside and won the Regional Excellence in Tourism Gold Award for Best Small Visitor Attraction in 2008, so well worth a visit.
Nearby to Goodrich are a number of other excellent Castles to visit – including Longtown Castle (English), White Castle (Welsh), Wilton Castle (English), Skenfrith Castle (Welsh), Grosmont Castle (Welsh) and Eastnor Castle (English).