Travelodge Newport Magor
Magor Motorway Services Area, Caldicot, Monmouthsh
More about Caldicot
The Parish Church of St Mary
Travel Tips for Caldicot
Apparently Caldicot country park has the great honour of being an annual venue for the British Lawnmower Racing Association in their championship.
Gasp as many of the world’s fastest racing lawnmowers do battle against each other, the track and mechanical failure.
Scream for your favourite as he or she mows down the opposition before them!
Yes you have entered the exciting and adrenaline pumped world where your spouse eagerly volunteers to mow the lawn one sunny afternoon and isn't seen for days!
Anyway, I was there for their warm-ups and I can tell you these guys take their machines seriously...
So why not check out the dates in the castle events calendar for their next meeting and see what al the full is about! An open mind - or a lawnmower!
Penhow has claims to be the oldest inhabited castle in Wales. It was built as a home for Sir Roger de Sancto Mauro, one of the Norman knights who served the Norman Lord of Striguil at Chepstow Castle. He built a tower house, and documentary evidence shows that he was at Penhow by 1129.
It was the first British home of the family who would later rise to national prominence under the more familiar name of Seymour. Later the Seymour family sold Penhow Castle to the Lewis family of St. Pierre, who converted the castle to a modern residence in 1674. Thomas Lewis' son Thomas was High Sheriff of the county, and married the daughter of Sir Richard Levett, Lord Mayor of London. The Lewis' retained ownership of Penhow Castle for several centuries.
The Castle has a reputation for being haunted. It was open to the public between 1978 and 2002.
You can drive up the small Country lane which leads to Penhow Castle but parking is limited. We parked in a layby on the A48 (Near the Rock and Fountain Inn). The footpath leading to the Castle goes past some lovely old farm buildings and of course you are surrounded by the gorgeous Welsh countryside.
The parish church of St. John the Baptist is next to the castle in Penhow. The original Church tower could be the same date as the early parts of the Castle, and was completed in 1290 and dedicated to the Abbot of St. Maur in France, the home of the St. Maur (Seymour) family. Following the reformation the Church was rededicated to St. John the Baptist.
As for the Castle, park in the layby near the Rock and Fountain Inn of the M48 and take the narrow lane up towards the church.
The town of Caldicot is not really very impressive and it could be said to be quite boring, we called on a market day which did add some character to the town centre with it's nice slate cross but no other distinguishing feature.
If you are visiting the Castle it would be best to park on the Castle Car Park after visiting the Parish Church of St Mary then maybe have a drive into Chepstow.
More History than you can shake a stick at!
Firstly I have to say Lonely Planet: "Shame on you!"
You see, they appear to have completely dropped the ball by totally omitting any reference to one of the best preserved Roman sites in the British Isles, One of the best Castle visits in Wales and the fascinating Dewstow Hidden Gardens and Grotttoes - all within a mile or so of each other!!!
But have no fear, for I your intrepid leader will now shed light on these not to be missed attractions...
Aren't I great? ;-)
The area around Caldicot is a beautiful area of rolling hills, farmland and woods - you would not think that this picture of tranquility was just a few miles from some of the most industrially scarred landscape in the British Isles!
Even today the monolithic Llanwern Steelworks is only a few minutes away down the M4 Motorway which itself cuts an ugly swathe through this picturesque country between Caldicot and Caerwent - though thankfully not seen or heard by either settlement.
So why not step into this magical world of the past literally on the doorstep of the modern day...
"Quick Tips and Suggestions"
Check out the Roman city of Venta Silurum. It has numerous Roman excavations within its impressive walls that still encircle the modern day village of Caerwent.
The smallish castle at Caldicot has been quite well restored and has an interesting past. It has an excellent audio tour and is a venue for regular medieval banquets in its Great Hall.
The Dewstow Gardens are an impressive collection of underground gardens and grottoes - that I haven't yet visited... ;-)
Penhow castle is another restored gem on the road to Newport, it is a small restored fortified manor and private residence - again if you don't know EXACTLY where this is, you will miss it!
Take time to refuel mind and body with a pub lunch at the many great pubs that are to be found in this locale...
Both Caldicot and Caerwent are linked by buses between Chepstow and Newport.
The transport links in this part of the world are excellent with the fast M4 and M48 piercing the Welsh countryside at a rapid rate from England across the Bristol Channel.
Again, if you have your own transport you will be able to see far more for your time and this hidden jewel of Gwent makes a fascinating interlude on any trip between Newport and Chepstow
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