Wednesday, 6 January 2010


The Wrekin is a well known landmark standing 1335 feet high located in between the towns of Shrewsbury and Telford in Shropshire.

There is an Iron Age hill fort on the summit almost 8 hectares in size. It is thought the fort was built by the Cornovii tribe and was once their capital. There is no evidence of occupation after the Roman invasion (it is not know if the fort was taken by force) and it is thought the the locals simply transferred themselves to nearby Viroconium (modern day Wroxeter) the four largest city in Roman Britain. There they would have enjoyed what we would consider modern comforts such as central heating. Even the main bath house shows evidence of double glazing!

View of the transmitting station on the summit.

View of the defensive ditch.

View looking North East

View looking West towards Shrewsbury.

View looking South West

View looking East towards Wolverhampton.

View of brother with his eyes closed.

"Going round the Wrekin" is a phase still used in the Black Country meaning 'taking the long way round'.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Monday, 6 July 2009


Chepstow Castle & museum the Boat Inn enjoyed fish & (real) chips. I always find it surprising who much I forget from previous visits and also how much new information we find. For instance the town museum was used as a military hospital during the Great War. In the museum there was a display detailing the docks that were also built during the First World War. I didn’t spot them walking round but they are clearly visible using Google Earth. On the heritage trail round the town there are info panel (although some are difficult to locate). The single storey Drill Hall is also worth looking out for.

Date of visit: 28th June 2009

Wednesday, 1 July 2009


Here hidden away in deepest southeast Wales are some of the best Roman remains in Britain. I suspect that until recently, when it featured on Team Time, Caerwent was known only the most diehard of Roman history fans.

The Roman town of Venta Silurum was founded in 75AD. The stone walls were added in the 4th century and was occupied until at least the mid 5th century. I know of this place because my dad took me there as a kid. It made an impression because I was more used to being dragged round green fields being told that the tiny lumps in the ground were the remains an auxiliary cavalry camp (which they were – Greensforge near Kingswinford). My imagination as a kid was pretty good but all I wanted to do at that age was run round castles killing pretend dragons. Here the walls reach over 20’ in places, with recognisable gateways, outlines of shops and temples.

And what appears, to me at least, a Norman style motte lies in the southeast corner which gives the town a strong resemblance to Portchester castle. It’s strange to think that we today are almost the same distance away, in time, to the Normans that built the castle than the Normans were to the Romano British who built the town. If you are in the area it is definitely worth visiting and enjoy a walk around the wall, it can be very evocative.

The batteries on my phone ran out so unfortunately I wasn't able to take any images of the motte or gateway.

Date of visit: 28th June 2009

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Dudley Cemetery

Boar War memorial

There are 56 names listed by rank, surname, forename and manner of death. The memorial is was unveiled on 23rd September 1904 by Lieutenant-General The Hon. Sir N G Lyttleton; it was designed by Mr H Own Burgess.

War Graves plot

Grave of Duncan Edwards 'Busby Babe' how died in the Munich air crash February 1958.

Date of visit: 21st June 2009

Monday, 15 June 2009

Cannock Chase - Military Cemeteries

Cannock Chase Commonwealth Cemetery

This cemetery contains at first glance a curious mixture of WWI & WWII German and Allied soldiers. There are 388 graves of men, 287 of them German serviceman. There are several WWII RAF but the majority of the Allied dead are from the New Zealand Rifle Brigade, judging by the dates, late 1918 - early 1919, I assume they were victims of the Spanish flu. There are a number of German POW graves dating from 1948.

Located a few hundred yards away, down a quiet country lane, is the Cannock Chase German Military Cemetery.

The cemetery contains the graves of 2143 servicemen of the First World War and 2786 of the WWII bought here from all parts of the UK. 5 of the dead from 1914-1918 and 90 from 1939-1945 are unidentified.

German servicemen from both wars, mainly prisoners of war, were transferred from their burial places to the Chase Military Cemetery between 1964 and 1966. German servicemen buried in British Military Cemeteries and in war grave plots in civilian cemeteries were not moved which explains why the German remains were not moved from the Commonwealth Cemetery up the road.

The remains of the crew from four airships (SL 11, L32, L31, L48) were relocated from Potters Bar, Great Burstead and Theberton to Cannock and lie in a special plot. Field Marshall Ernst Busch is buried after dying in capivity but perhaps the most notorious person to be buried here is the SS General Maximilian von Herff.

RAF Hednesford

RAF Hednesford

Main gateway memorial - looking south towards the parade ground.

Info panel showing the layout of the camp, the parade ground is the green square in the centre of the panel.

Main Parade Ground - looking north

Date of visit: 13th June 2009