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Goodrich Castle

Visited August 2011

Location Goodrich, Herefordshire
Entrance Fee Yes
Railway Station Nearby    No
Parking Yes -for a fee
Facilities Toilets, Shop, Cafe, Picnic benches
Map

 

Standing amongst woodlands, Goodrich is a beautiful medieval castle- famous for its red stone, and the solid rock foundations on which it stands.

 


 

 


Review

 

The castle is named after Godric Mappestone, who owned the land at the time of the Domesday book. From his name it would seem he was English, but how he hung onto his lands after the Norman invasion is not known. Nor is it known if a castle actually stood on his land during his lifetime, but there is mention of Godric's Castle by 1100. The name has remained albeit in a slightly different spelling. Not bad for an English landowner during Norman dominated times.

 

Although Herefordshire was always strategically important due to its proximity to the troublesome Welsh lands, Goodrich Castle actually had quite a peaceful existence. It was refortified shortly after the first civil war between Stephen & Matilda in the mid 1100's. As with many castles, it changed owners several times and was added to over the years- a keep, the gatehouse and the outer walls & barbican all being defensive additions. The main damage to the castle was during the English Civil War . Whilst being held for the Royalist cause, the castle was assaulted by mortar shells from 'Roaring Meg', which was forged locally with the express intent of taking the castle. The mortar fire from Meg undermined the footings of the north west tower, and the Royalists finally surrendered the castle in 1646. In 2003 the mortar 'Roaring Meg' was brought back to Goodrich, and now stands inside the courtyard of the very castle she destroyed. What a reunion that must have been!

 

Despite being slighted after the Civil War, there is still much to see here- curious looking round towers with square buttresses and the exposed bedrock which the castle was built on top of. The rock foundations can be accessed and climbed, but I would advise caution in wet weather as they will almost certainly be slippery.

 

The keep is also  impressive, the wooden replacement stairs and floor lead  to the upper level, which in turn has an entrance to the steepest and narrowest spiral staircase we have ever encountered. As seasoned castle visitors, even we said 'No thanks' and gave them a miss. They lead to the top of the keep tower, which I am told has a terrific view. There were too many other visitors on the day we went- as a party of four it would have been a nightmare if we had met another party in the middle of the stairwell- there was no room for passing in the narrowess.

 

 

 


 

 


 

The castle has a decent car park (although there is a fee to pay- refunded when you buy an entrance ticket) and there is a large gift/coffee shop with clean toilets. The soup smelled particularly nice on the day of our visit....

 

Our children completed the castle trail, available at the ticket office. We found that although it was made of brightly coloured paper, the colour rubbed away too if you needed to rub out a mistake. A trivial matter but at the time it caused a few tears to an over excited child. Apart from that the trail and indeed the whole castle was very child friendly. Just watch the steep & narrow of the keep's tower.

 


 

 

 


 

More info:  English Heritage

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