Monday, August 4, 2014

Hadleigh - part 2

Hadleigh is not just our nearest shopping town, it's our nearest castle! Hadleigh Castle was built in 1215, but unfortunately it wasn't built very well. There was some subsidence, and part of the castle slipped down the hill. What is left is a ruin, but it's set in a large (for England) country park, and the views across the Thames Estuary are stunning. We took Oscar, our dog, for a walk at Hadleigh Castle. Here the children are walking up to the entrance. It's free to visit the castle.

Tag is interested in reading about the history of Hadleigh castle.

There's a big hill to scamble up first! (Naturally, sensible mothers go the long way round and walk up more sedately.)

At the top, there's yet more information for Tag to read, including diagrams of how the castle used to look.

Ceri admires the view from the most complete tower still standing. That's the Thames Estuary in the distance. Hadleigh is just at the point the River Thames meets the sea. 

Tag finds a lovely little bear-sized nook (or maybe a cranny?) in the wall.

Ceri decides to join him on the wall.

And then everyone gets in on the act! (This part of the wall is a bit that fell down the hill 800 years ago, which is why it looks as though it's at a funny angle.)


... and then we read the signs. (That Tag is a bad influence, he started it!)

A lot of the land in Hadleigh, including all the land around the castle, is owned by the Salvation Army. They are very strong in this area, and have had a large farm colony in Hadleigh for over 120 years, which includes a brickworks, tea rooms and a rare breeds farm. Hadleigh Farm, which is owned and operated by the Salvation Army, was the venue for the 2012 London Olympic Games mountain biking. From the castle you can see the track.

Hadleigh really got behind the idea of cycling because of all the excitement.  On the roundabout as you go into the town is a sculpture of a cyclist. (Ironically, though, there's not a single bike lane anywhere in the town!)

Outside Morrisons, which opened in 2012, the same year as the Olympics, is another statue. This one commemorates all sorts of things about Hadleigh. The cyclists at the top are balanced on the tower of Hadleigh castle, and the plinth includes a red brick made at the Salvation Army colony. It's imprinted with the word "SALIC" - Salvation Army Land and Industrial Colony."

Morrisons also has murals on the outside about the history of Hadleigh. They start with Hubert de Burgh and the castle, and then go through the Salvation Army colony and end with the Olympic mountain biking.

 Although Hadleigh is only a small town, it's a lovely place to visit, and we love going for picnics at the castle.


  1. Sorry it’s taken us so long to get to this! Last week the kids were at Cousin Camp and this week Tyson has been at Scout Camp (which Charmin may get to attend). It’s been hard to get us all together!

    As we were looking at this, Charlotte saw the photo with the caption "Ceri admires the view from the most complete tower still standing” and she said, “Is that the princess of the castle?” (Ceri) I laughed and said yes, that looks like the princess to me! :-)

    What a VERY cool site. We have very few castles here in the States- probably the closest thing to a castle for us would be the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina- (I’ve always wanted to visit)

    Thanks for taking Tag on such a very English adventure!

  2. Oh wait- forgot about another “castle” where Chad and I attended a New Year’s Eve gala one year in Maryland- :-)