Victoria here. The Summer 2011 issue of the National Trust Magazine has a page of facts and figures with several fun items:
43 is the number of pubs owned by the NT; 200 bicycles are available to hire in Cumber Park Nottinghamshire; and 6,000 is the number of MOATS in the UK, “making them one of our nation’s most common medieval monuments.”
I went to my picture collection to see how many moats I could account for. A recent one, though now a dry garden, was at Walmer Castle in Kent, which you can read about on this blog of 7/24/11.
Perhaps my favorite is the moat at Scotney Castle, also in Kent. The website is here.
Be sure to click on the photo gallery for lovely pictures, though none quite so atmospheric as the ones I took on a visit in late October mist. The gardens have been planted for special beauty in the spring and autumn.
In the 19th century, the gardens were designed in the picturesque manner by William Sawrey Gilpin for the Hussey family; Gilpin’s uncle, the Rev. William Gilpin, had criticized the style of his contemporary Capability Brown as too smooth and tame.
The old castle, dating from the 14th century, was “selectively ruined” to provide a focal point for the garden, leaving only one round tower of the original four.
In 1970, the garden was left to the National Trust. The moat acts as a perfect mirror in the above romantic view.
In one of my several visits to Bodiam Castle in East Sussex, it was January and the moat was frozen.
After a snowstorm, the site was deserted, silent and ghostly in the fog, shared only with the sheep who were bundled up against the wind in their finest fleece. My husband and I made our lonely way around the ruins, reading all the labels and trying to imagine how it would have looked when it was the lively center of a great community.
Another visit was in October, in bright sunshine. There were many more visitors, although I managed to take my snaps in between them!
Bodiam Castle was constructed in the late 14th century and though ruined during the Civil War when attacked by Parliamentary forces who eventually removed its roofs, it is relatively intact. George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon (1859-1925), purchased Bodiam in 1916 and managed a number of preservation and restoration projects there before presenting it to the National Trust in 1925, which has continued to protect the popular site.
The sheep were happier, it seemed, but you will note they had a good October start on
their winter coats.
Bodiam was used as the Exterior of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey
in the 1986 BBC version, even though it was never an abbey nor does it resemble the Northanger Austen describes. Bodiam has also appeared in episodes of Dr. Who and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, among many other films and tv programs.
Both Bodiam and Scotney are NT sites easily accessible from London. Two other popular tourist sites with lovely moats are Leeds Castle and Hever Castle, also not far from the City.
|Leeds Castle, Kent
Apparently I have more than 5,995 more moats to discover … where do I start? Do you have a favorite moat?