You may have missed it last year ! But it will be back 2013.
Rick Stein in Abergavenny
Every year at least 34,000 visitors flock into town for a - usually - lovely sunny weekend for the Festival that become not only an important local event but has been acclaimed as the best Food Festival in the UK.
Abergavenny born Penelope Fillon, wife of Francois Fillon the Prime Minister of France was in attendance accompanied by Christophe Langrée, Head Chef at Hotel Matignon, official residence of the French premier who "demonstrated the application of French culinary technique to fine Welsh produce".
The town centre streets are closed to traffic to allow local food producers to set up their stalls. Car parking is restricted and a Park and Ride system is operated.
Cafes and restaurants set out tables and chairs for continental style refreshments.
The Market Hall, surrounding streets and car parks, the Parish Church Hall and Gardens, auctioneers yards, and the Castle grounds - every available space becomes a Festival site including the Borough Theatre and the town's main Hotel - The Angel.
Well known British and international Chefs and BBC personalities come to town. Clowns and street entertainers keep children happy.
The event of the year was again a great success in 2009..
In the Market Hall local chefs from the many gastro-pubs, and restaurants in Abergavenny gave Free cookery demonstrations to packed audiences.
Everywhere local producer provide samples and sell their produce in the festive air that pervades the town.
These gardens have beautiful views of Castle Meadows, the River Usk with the Blorenge beyond,and are tucked away off Tudor Terrace (at the opposite end to the entrance to Abergavenny Castle.)
So very close to the Town centre but a haven of peace and beauty through out the year.
Gardeners and botanists love them for the large and varied collection of trees and shrubs, the dazzling colour of early sprimg flowers followed by summer displays.Then the glorious colours of autumn give way to winter snows which paint the bare trees in brilliant white.
Occasional events are held here but on most days the three hecatres of the garden provide both shady spaces to sit and relax with a book and picnic areas with safe playgrounds for small children to run around in.
They were originally the private garden of the large stone-built house which overlooks the grounds and which I believe is now converted into flats. How lovely to have such commanding views without having to cut all those lawns !
They are now owned and maintained by Monmouthshire County Coucil with assistance from the Abergavenny Town Council and Friends of Linda Vista Gardens. Well worth a visit and a lovely place for a gentle walk and relaxation.
Entry is free. It is in the grounds of the ruined castle. It is housed in a former hunting lodge. There are displays of various aspects of Abergavenny lifr from a shop, a Victorian kitchen, and a WWII air rain shelter. Permanent displays follow history from neolithic times.
There is an exhibition about the new [Nov 2011] film Resistance, based on a book by a local writer about a secret group of resistance fighters should Hitler have invaded England.
Parking is available. The museum is open:
March- October Mon-Sat 11am-1pm and 2pm-5pm; Sunday 2pm-5pm
November - February Mon-Sat 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm
The Tithe Barn was started in 13th century, extended and enlarged in 14th and 17th centuries respectively. It was refurbished in 21st. Entry is free.
Downstairs is a food court where lunches are served. The Upper floor houses the Millenium Tapestry, and has a small museum and an Interpretation Centre where visitors can hear tales of Abergavenny in various periods.
The Millenium Tapestry took about 5 years to make. Fifty or more stitchers took part. The tapestry depicts the landscape, important places and the statue of Jesse. Also incorporated are crests and coats of arms.
The Norman church has a double facade .It was founded in 1087 with a prior and 12 monks.With the dissolution of the monasteries, it continued as the parish church.
Some ugly gargoyles can be seen under the roof.
Inside has been restored. The floor has numerous flat memorial slabs dating to 18th century.
In one area are marble or stone effigies . They include some of the Herbert family dated to 14th century. There is a knight, a married couple. a prince and bishop, and other single personages. A wooden effigy of Sir John de Hastings who rebuilt the church in the 14th century is in the north transept.
The large piece of oak carved into the figure of Jesse, father of King David, once was part of a much larger one showing the genealogy of Jesus. It dates to the 15th century.
Near the entrance is a stone pre-Norman font. It was found buried in the churchyard.
Outside is the Abbot's garden, and nearby a Tithe Barn that has been restored and is now a cafe and museum, containing the new Millenium Tapestry.
The Abergavenny Millennium Tapestry was started in 1999, the year in which the Tithe barn was bought by St Mary's Priory Church.
It was always the intention that, when completed , the Tapestry would hang in a specially designed gallery on the upper floor of the Barn.
For five years a group of 60 stitchers from the Abergavenny Tapestry Group met in the Lewis Chapel of the Church to stitchi. They stitched for five years throughout five cold winters. Their work attracted many visitors to the Church - who were always invited to add a few stitches.
The canvas of the tapestry measures 24ft by 6ft dozens of different shades and thicknesses of wool were used to create the mixture of glowing colour and subtle shading. Made in panels which are now joined it was designed by Susie Martin and relates the history of Abergavenny from Norman times to the present day.
A touch-screen video presentation will guide you through the making of the Tapestry and introduce you to some of the people who worked on it.
The new Tithe Barn at St Mary's Proiry Church is open Mon-Sat 9.00-5.00 and Sun 11.00-4.00. Entrance is free. There is an excellent exhibition upstairs (they have a lift) with lots hands on activities for children. The Abergavenny Tapestry is also on show there and the volunteers who look after the exhibition are more than happy to talk about its design and completion. Downstairs is a foodhall that offers great local produce and the chance to have a pint or glass of wine.
The Three Peaks Trail is a 20 Mile walk with 5000ft of assent, it's not a race (but some people do run) more a way to challenge yourself, both your fitness and map reading skills. There is a choice of four routes Bronze (Sugar Loaf) Silver (Blorenge and Sugar Loaf) Gold (Blorenge and Sugar Loaf and Skirrid) and Finally Platinum (Llanthony Priory back to Abergavenny). The Entrance fee goes to Longtown Mountain Rescue and you can also collect sponsorship for them if you want to. It is held on the last Saturday in March and if you want to enter check out the website a few months before http://www.cardiffoutdoorgroup.org.uk/3pt/3pt.htm
Part of the 3 Castles Grosmont is not as big as White castle nor does it take up the same area as Skenfrith but it is impressive and has it's fair share of history. It was once the scene of a daring night attack by the Welsh in 1233 and besieged by Owain Glyndwr in 1405. relief came in the person of Prince Hal (later King Henry IV)
It's earliest remaining structure is the great hall which was built around 1210. The gatehouse dates from the second period of construction (1220-1240) .
Entrance is free
on B4347 10 miles NW of Monmouth
Welsh churches tend to be rather small and unassuming, unlike, for instance, the great English churches in counties such as Gloucestershire and Norfolk. Partrishow (or Patricio), one of the more interesting churches in Wales, is small, plain from the outside and isolated. Its most remarkable feature is the late 15th century rood screen and loft with intricate carvings of vines and dragons. The walls have some painted texts and a 'doom' painting of a skeleton, scythe, spade and hour-glass, (discovered during a 1909 restoration). The church also displays a rare 1620 Welsh Bible.
Only a few rood screens escaped destruction in Wales and there is a story that this one survived because Cromwell's soldiers couldn't find it. While the story may not be true, it is a useful reminder that, even with the present roads, it is still somewhat remote.
St Mary's Priory Church has been described as one of the finest churches in Wales. It contains some superb monuments and sculptures, said to be among the most important collections of any parish church in Britain.
The Priory at Abergavenny was established at the end of the 11th century by the Norman lord Hamelin de Ballon to support a prior and 12 monks from the French Abbey of St Vincent and St Lawrence in Le Mans. Little remains of the original structure and most of the present church dates from the 14th century.
Guided tours can be arranged for any size of party by calling 01873 858787.
This fantastic building has a long and fascinating history. It dates back to the 12th century, when it was built to house the tithes (taxes) paid by the local community to the monks of St Mary’s Priory. Over the years it has been used for many different purposes, from a travelling theatre in the 17th century to a carpet warehouse and discotheque in the 20th. It is now part of the St Mary’s Priory Church complex. It houses a food hall, shop, education centre and exhibition.
A tannery once existed in the grounds of this building which has now been turned into flats for the retired. The tannery was part of a thriving shoe-making industry in the town. The building is now part of Pegasus Court, a retirement housing complex.
The King Henry VIII Grammar School was established in what was then St John's Church in 1542. It was supported for many years by tithes gained from the dissolved St Mary's Priory and from other properties. A new school was built in Penypound in 1898, and St John's then became a Freemasons' Lodge.
As you walk down Nevill Street you will see some great Georgian Buildings which were built around 1750. As we were walking along we spotted a great fireplace just inside one of the buildings which is now being used as a solicitors.