England's last Castle

Monday, 2 September 2013

Hello again! It's been a busy few days so I'm only just catching up on editing photos and putting together a new post for you.

Over the recent late summer holiday weekend, we headed down to gorgeous Devon to visit Castle Drogo. It's been on our bucket list for a while, so making our base in Gloucestershire with my Mum & Dad for a few days gave us the ideal opportunity to finally get there.

This is no ordinary castle. Completed in 1930, it's modern by most standards. Some even call it England's last castle. It was built for Julius Drewe, founder of the Home & Colonial Stores which were, I'm told, the precursor to today's supermarket chains. Apparently there was one in the town I grew up in, but I don't remember it! Drewe made so much money from the stores that he was able to retire at the age of 33.

The architect was Edwin Lutyens, one of the most interesting designers of the time. On this table you can see one of his trademark details - raised dowel pins:

So, you might be wondering why a relatively new building is covered in scaffolding and currently undergoing extensive renovation by the National Trust?

It seems that Drewe's insistence on using certain unproven building techniques at the time, namely granite slabs on an asphalt lining, plus details such as the absence of windowsills and guttering, meant that the building has suffered terribly with the wet Dartmoor weather and there have been extensive problems with leaks.

Drewe died shortly after the castle was completed and in 1973 it passed to the National Trust. There is now a major project underway to repair the water damage and save the castle.

The National Trust also manages extensive land in the area, so after visiting the castle we walked down the Teign Valley to the river gorge below ~ glorious views were everywhere we looked! 

It's a really lovely place to spend time in nature...

You're guided down the valley by the sound of the water...

And of course, when you return to the castle, you mustn't miss the opportunity to indulge in a proper Devonshire cream tea ~ after all that walking you'll definitely deserve it!

For more details on Castle Drogo visit the National Trust website.

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