Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Exploring Framlingham Castle

This post is a little overdue, since I left Suffolk a couple of weeks ago but at least it's here now! Between all the cricket I was playing in Suffolk while on holiday with my parents, I did get out to explore Framlingham Castle. Having seen a couple of photos and read some information, it seemed this castle would be the closest I could get (so far) to seeing Toira (from my book) in real life, except for the fact that it doesn't have a massive great keep in the middle. But putting little differences aside and the slightly smaller scale of this castle compared to Toira Castle, Framlingham did not disappoint. Due to it being similar to Toira, I visited as a writer, not a photographer and expected to just take a few snaps that would help me picture the scenes in my book better. But it turns out, while I was importing a new set of photos from another castle exploration, I noticed that some of the snaps I had taken were pretty passable for my blog. 

This is the large gatehouse that greets visitors as they walk up the road from the car park to the castle. It doesn't have a drawbridge but a later addition bridge over a large ditch. 

From that bridge you can look to the right and see the path leading around the castle and towards the lake which used to be the source of fish for the inhabitants in the Medieval and Tudor period. Just standing there looking at the dramatic heights of the castle walls as well as the deep ditch, I couldn't help but wonder HOW armies would have even thought they could get into this castle by force! In a way this is very similar to Toira Castle's defences as well as the sprawling countryside and lake beyond it.

This is what is left of one of the towers. It's possible this is equal to a very important part of Toira castle in my book (except of course it would not be a ruin).

Looking back at the gatehouse from another important spot in Toira Castle.

The opposite view.

And there is the lake. In medieval times this lake would have been bigger, reaching to the top of that bank before the blue-grey tree.

A view from the walls into the castle. Not all ruined castles in the UK allow you to walk on the walls so it is always special when I can take the routes and walk along the walls to see what the medieval inhabitants would have been able to see and not see - especially the castle garrison.

This for example is what those on the wall beside the gatehouse would be able to see of the outer defences.

Another view looking down into the grounds, this time towards the gatehouse again. You might have noticed the well near the gatehouse. It is in a similar position, strangely, to a fountain feature in another of my book castles, El-Hana.

Toira would have a large keep in the middle of the grass not allowing for this view across to the gatehouse. It would also have a greater amount of space between the keep and the walls.

Another view of that lovely lake.

This is a view of the prison entrance from the back of the castle which is in the same position I have put the dungeon in Toira Castle.

I decided to walk around the lake, hoping to catch a glimpse of some of the birds they advertised as being in the area. Sadly despite the beautiful blue sky and hot weather I didn't see any of the wildlife. but the view was pretty. And it allowed me to get away from the noisy teenage tourists and the not-so-teenage pokemon "trainers".

The walk took me along a bit of a muddy "cow track" and I disturbed quite a few of these butterflies before I was able to sneak up on a group and take a couple of photos.

All in all, it was a successful and really helpful exploration into the world of Toira Castle and Framlingham Castle. It was really interesting to be able to stand on the walls and picture the events that happen at various points around the castle!

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