Day 2 - Sunday, 19th June
Weather - Cold and windy, cloudy with some sunny intervals but at least NO rain!
Where to today? We were on a family holiday and now David and Emily are in their early twenties its difficult to agree on places to go! I suggested Newtown Estuary or the nearby woodlands for birds and butterflies or a walk looking for water voles and Emily suggested Carisbrooke Castle. We ended up going to Carisbrooke Castle!
The Norman Motte and Bailey Castle was built around 1100 and various buildings have been added since. It has been the most important stronghold on the Isle of Wight due to its superb defensive position.
The Gate House
Princess Beatrice, the youngest daughter of Queen Victoria, became Governor of the Isle of Wight in 1896 following the death of her husband and from 1913 she took up residence at Carisbrooke Castle for part of the year.
Since we last visited the castle the privy garden used by Princess Beatrice has beeen redesigned by garden designer and tv presenter Chris Beardshaw, based on the original layout.
It would be great to be able to visit at dusk because according to the plaque in the photo below the castle has the highest number of bats roosting in summer than any other site in Southern England. 9 of the 15 British bat species have been recorded at the castle.
During the Civil War the Castle was used as a prison with its most famous inmate being Charles I who was held here for 10 months in 1647/8.
He attempted to escape twice during this time. First from this window in his bedchamber when he managed to get stuck between the bars!
The second attempt was made via this window but he was betrayed by two guards.
Wood Carving of the Green Man
Carey's Mansion and the Great Hall
A Chapel on the site was first mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086 and chapels dedicated to St Nicholas have existed ever since. The present building was erected in 1904 to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Charles I's execution in 1649. After World War I the decision was made to make the chapel the Island's War Memorial
There were a number of superb wood carvings
In the afternoon we went and had a look around the pretty village of Shorwell.
Whilst everyone was walking round the village I went to have a look around St Peter's Church. A chapel was first built here around 1100 and the church was completely remodelled during the fifteenth century.
I am always fascinated by the amount of lichens to be found in churchyards and on a previous holiday spent several hours in the churchyard at Chale with a Field Studies Guide to Lichens in one hand and a hand lens in the other attempting to identify the various species
Highlight of the church visit was this superb wall painting of Saint Christopher dating back to 1440 which measures 11 feet by 6.5 feet.
The pulpit is believed to be the only example on the Island of a medieval pulpit and dates back to 1440.
The cover to the font has a Holy Dove on the top - an example of Flemish metalwork
When we got back to the cottage I went a walk along the lane looking for butterflies - seeing my first meadow browns of the year on bramble, honeysuckle and scabious flowers. I walked back through a hay meadow which was an incredible experience as with every step several meadow browns flew into the air. There must have been hundreds of them in the meadow.
Other butterflies seen today - a red admiral at Carisbrooke Castle and a Small Tortoiseshell in the hay meadow.
The Hay Meadow with St Catherine's Down in the background
In the evening we went for a meal at the Buddle Inn, Niton - an old smugglers' haunt.