Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Berkley - 13 April 2008

MinchamptonThe Vale of Berkley was our focus today as we visited towns that are situated on both sides of the Severn River. This area has been settled for aeons, as evidenced by a walk we did around Minchampton and it's Common, following old prehistoric earthworks. The whole area around there has stunning views over the valleys on either side.

DursleyFrom Michampton we drove down through Uley and Dursley to Berkley. This town is fairly boring, but Berkley Castle is impressive, not least for still belonging to the Berkley family since it's beginnings in the 12th century. Berkley CastleThe tour started in the 12th century Keep, and moved on through the more 'modern' 14th century parts including the Great Hall. There is a lot of history associated with the family’s ownership of the house, and we were shown the wall that Cromwell's troops took 3 days to blast through. The family negotiated with Cromwell to keep their house, on the condition they did not rebuild the breach in the walls.

Gloucester CanalWe also saw the cell where Edward II was held for 5 months while his captors hoped he would die from the fumes emanating from the rotting corpses in the dungeon just outside the cell. It is rumoured that when this failed his captors took matters into their own hands and killed the King in a most gruesome and painfully unpleasant manner.

Frampton On SevernNorth of here we visited the Gloucester Canal, second only in size to the Manchester Ship Canal. Our final stop was the fascinating town of Frampton On Severn, which is close to but actually not on the Severn at all. The interesting feature of this town is the 22-acre green, which makes a very pleasant walk around the old and attractive manor houses, and several village ponds.

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