Walmer Castle A Lovely Afternoon

Jan Leeming

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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

WALMER CASTLE - A lovely afternoon

Date: 28th June 2011

WALMER CASTLE - wonderful afternoon

Can’t believe that for eight years I’ve lived a five minute walk from Walmer Castle and never paid a visit.

Yesterday was blisteringly hot and I’d had enough of being inside so decided to go to the Castle.

Walmer was built in 1539 as one of a chain of coastal artillery forts which Henry V111 had constructed against the threat of invasion by Spain. From 1708 it became the official residence of the Lords Warden of the Cinque Ports. Many famous people have held the office including Sir Winston Churchill, the late Queen Mother, Sir Robert Menzies (the only Commonwealth Prime Minister to hold the office) and probably best known of all - the Duke of Wellington. It was modified over the years to make it into a more comfortable home and at one stage the Iron Duke had to vacate the premises when Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and two of their children decided to holiday at Walmer and took walks on our shingly beaches.

The Castle is an unusual shape - almost like a four leaf clover, and with the rooms having round walls, it must have been difficult to adapt to it to conventional living.

The Audio Tour was excellent - well presented and with just enough information. I was particularly moved by the room in which Wellington died - by his little campaign camp bed and the chair in which he actually expired.

When the late Queen Mother was Warden, she had a Garden planted which is delightful and a pleasure to walk around. There’s a large rectangular pool with water lillies and a lovely covered pavilion in which one can escape the heat and just sit and contemplate.

There’s a kitchen garden, a wooded walk and access to the Moat. Walking around the latter, one is even more impressed with the thick walls and fortification of Walmer.
I was told the Cannons were never fired but they are all facing France. It’s odd that on such a clear day the French coast was obliterated but on more cloudy days I’ve been able to see the Coast clearly.

They have a little Coffee shop and sell a few plants. As I walked past the rather dilapidated roses, I caught a whiff of perfume. That was that - although they won’t flower anymore this year, I purchased a Whisky Mac (though I loathe the drink) which is a lovely yellowish/salmon colour with a heavenly scent and also a crimson one called Glad Tidings. I’ve only got pots but one little rose tree has done so well, it has encouraged me to abandon tussling with the elements to grow, unsuccessfully, the arum lillies I brought from my previous garden, and various other plants and concentrate on the roses. I know they are bare sticks for much of the year, but if they reward me next year with even a few blooms with the heavenly perfume, then I shall think it all worthwhile.

(So few roses have a perfume any more. Even freesias are bred for strength and size and have lost a great deal of their lovely scent. So many flowers, so much fruit and veg. are forced and grown in artificial conditions, and smell and taste are sacrificed - all in the name of uniformity and longevity - Yuk!)

If you are down in this area, a visit to Walmer is something I’d strongly advise. Perhaps, if you have the time, visit Deal Castle first - it’s Walmer’s twin but sadly has nothing in it anymore though it will give you an excellent comparison between the two.

I’ll try and make time to post a few photos in the Gallery of Walmer and the Gardens.

Meanwhile, here is a taster - looking towards the Castle from the Queen Mother's garden.

Till next time. Jan

WALMER CASTLE - A lovely afternoon

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