Thursday, 16 June 2022


 A few weeks ago we took the van up to north Wales, with a plan to tour Anglesey, which we did. We visited Bodnant gardens, and a few lesser known gems which I have to blog about separately as they were totally unexpected. One in particular had quite a story about it. All of them in Snowdonia. Anglesey was just beautiful, and in particular a beach that we slept on in the south west. For now though, a truly unique place, Gwydir Castle.

Not a castle in the usually understood way, but a home that has been a kind of fortress to all that have lived there. No photos of the inside are allowed, and that's fine by me. Some mystery and feeling can only be understood by actually being there. We were there when it opened, and were the only ones there. A tiny marker on our OS map gave a hint of somewhere to visit, and so we did, not knowing what to expect.

It was extraordinary. Being gardeners, we headed around the house itself, through a knot garden still waiting for the warmth of spring to bring it to life, but already Box hedging and the early signs of a simple infill of Alchemilla. Beautiful planting. Peacocks became very apparent. A long Aucuba hedge led us to the arch that brought us into the rear garden. Simplicity in itself. Very old Taxus, still being controlled to a shape consistent with the place that they lived in. Grass, simply controlled by high mowing. Water, always a must in any garden, personally speaking. Peacocks, watching and judging us as we dared to walk through THEIR space. They put up with us though, and afforded us the privilege of sharing some time with them.

The sense of peace in that garden, I cannot explain, and maybe it might have just been me, but I have been to many, many gardens in my life, and none have quite touched my soul as this one. Sometimes we need something simpler than Versaille. The owners are very lucky. We had the fleeting pleasure of meeting one of them, Judy Corbett, Both inside and outside the house. She was apparently on butterfly watch. They come inside the house, then seek the light of the windows and get stuck trying to get out. Judy was gathering them, very gently, one at a time, and carrying them to an outside shrub and painstakingly making sure they settled back into the outside. A special person. It's her in the first picture settling a butterfly into a shrub.

The story about this couple and how they ended up here, well, just Google it, or, and I recommend, get a copy of her book 'Castles In The Air'. 

It was a place that had us there at the weekend again, but stupidly we hadn't checked if it was open. And it wasn't.

We had two nights in Snowdonia, both of them spent here. Snowdon is the pointy one above the middle of the van. A magical place, with some magical souls turning up for the  night as well


  1. Welcome back and thank you, thank you, thank you for this lovely abbreviated post. I will look for more, soon I hope. I can arm chair travel to foreign places. We too used to have a van travel vehicle. Made going easy to do without a lot of extra thought, except when and where. I will read about the Corbetts. Lynn

    1. Hi Lynn,
      It's been a while since I posted, I know. Stuff happens. It's nice to hear from you. Please do tell about your own camper van adventures. You are so right about the whole 'when and where' thing. The Corbetts had quite a task on their hands, both practically and emotionally. The book tells the best story.

  2. It looks like a very special garden. Relaxed.
    A couple of nights away sound good, there's nothing so nourishing as to look at the stars, the waves or the trees....