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A haven from the main harbour with a tunnel under the road to provide access.

Thought this a rather striking building facing Dartmouth Estuary. Can't find a great deal about its history but it has been converted into private apartments apparently.

We got a ferry from Dartmouth Castle to the town, didn't fancy another walk, and there up on the hill the Naval College where all the aspiring Admiral Nelsons start out! It is the initial officer training establishment of the Royal Navy up on the hill overlooking Dartmouth. Naval training has taken place here since 1863 and the buildings of the current campus were completed in 1905. Earlier students lived in two wooden hulks moored in the River Dart! Since 1998 BRNC has been the sole centre for Royal Naval officer training.

Another artillery fort and fourth in my list of "castles to see in Devon"! Have to admit this is the nearest we actually got! Anyway like Dartmouth Castle over the other side of the estuary it was built to protect Dartmouth Harbour between 1491 and 1502 in response to the threat of French attack and was one of the purpose-built artillery forts in Britain. By the end of the 16th century, however, the improvements in the range artillery weapons had reduced the utility of the castle. It took part in the English Civil War and continued to be armed until the early 18th century and fell into ruin. Restored as a summer house in 1855 it is now managed by Landmark Trust as a holiday let. So if you fancy a stay there go to it!!! Sorry about the scaffolding but that was nothing compared to the building site which is Castle Drogo which is yet to come.........!!!

This is an artillery fort for built to protect Dartmouth Harbour. The earliest parts of the castle date from the 1380s when in response to a French attack the civic authorities created a small enclosure castle overlooking the mouth of the Dart Estuary. This was intended to engage enemy ships with catapult or possibly early cannon. By the end of the 15th century the castle was expanded with an artillery tower and an iron chain which could be stretched across the harbour to a tower at Godmeroc. This addition formed the oldest purpose-built artillery fort in Britain. Further gun batteries were added during the 1540s French invasion scare. The castle saw service during the English Civil War of 1642-1646 when its vulnerability to attack from the land became apparent. This surprises me 'cos parking is a nightmare here and we had to park up in the woods and walk down! I would have thought it a doddle to defend the approaches!!! Anyway additional defences were created resulting in the Gallants Bower work above it and in 1748 a new gun position called the Grand Battery was added to the castle, equipped with twelve guns. In 1859 it was upgraded with modern artillery but defending this port was no longer a priority. It was brought back into use during the First and Second World Wars but in 1955 finally retired from service. It is now managed by English Heritage.

A 13th century church beautifully situated over the Dart Estuary next to Dartmouth Castle. It has a tall narrow tower and was heavily restored in the 19th century. St Petrox, or Petrocus, was a 6th century monk who may have been born in West Wales but he was certainly educated in Ireland before travelling to Rome and returning to Britain to preach in Cornwall. He set up a monastery in Padstow and died in Bodmin in 594 AD.

The beautiful Dart Estuary from the road leading into the town.

Next was a short trip to this castle, a Tudor mansion within the walls of an earlier in near the village of Berry Pomeroy in South Devon. It was built in the late 15th century by the Pomeroy family which had held the land since the 11th century. By 1547 the family was in financial difficulty and sold the lands to Edward Seymour 1st Duke of Somerset. Apart from a short period of forfeit to the crown after Edward's execution the castle has remained in the Seymour family ever since. It was abandoned in the late 17th century when the fourth baronet moved to Wiltshire. After lying in ruins for a hundred years the castle became celebrated as an example of the "picturesque" and it became a popular tourist attraction, a status which it retains today. This is aided by its reputation of being haunted (yawn)! I ain't afraid of no ghosts!!!

Now we're cooking! The first of six castles on our Devon jaunt! Did nothing for the old legs though! Totnes Castle is one of the best preserved examples of a Norman motte and bailey castle in England. It is situated in the town of Totnes on the River Dart in Devon. The surviving stone keep and curtain wall date from the 14th century. From after the Norman Conquest of 1066 it was the caput of the Feudal barony of Totnes. The castle occupies a commanding position atop a large hill above the town and guards the approach to three valleys. Views are spectacular!

Boring old diesels do nothing for me but there were loads of "enthusiasts" on the bridge. Took me back to the sixties and me trainspotting days.


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