Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Tim James Visits the beautiful Gatehouse of Dunraven Castle

Throughout my trips spent tracking down abandoned buildings around Wales, I seem to have been drawn to the larger, grander buildings, but I must not forget the beauty of smaller buildings that lie in a similar state of dereliction; equally deserving to be rescued from their current state of neglect.

I have chosen two buildings at the opposite end of Wales.  They are built in different styles, but both of which had the same original use; these are two of the crumbling gate houses of Wales.
Standing in the grounds of the now demolished Dunraven Castle in Glamorgan is a beautiful crenellated gate house. It is situated a stone's throw from the coast up a rough farm track. The  castle-like design bears no resemblance to the actual castle that once stood at the centre of the Dunraven estate.  Despite this building having been out of use for many years the fabric of the building looks to be in surprisingly good shape.  It still retains all its crenellations, and, surprisingly, the roof is largely in situ.  Unlike so many building that have been out of use for a while this structure is free of saplings growing in gaps in its masonry, and this is a pleasure to see. Sadly the inside is in a rather more dilapidated state with rotten beams and stones lying scattered about the floor.  The absence of doors means that this building, intended for human habitation is now open and housing  any wildlife that wanders in.

In contrast to this is the gate house at Baron hill on Anglesey. A fine neo-Palladian building built in the same style of the mansion it once served. The gate house now is covered with ivy. The roof is long gone and so too are the ornate iron gates that once stood beside it. There is evidence that at some point an attempt has been made to keep the elements out of the building by placing corrugated sheeting over the roof. Alas this seems to have been in vain. The inside walls are in a desperate state as saplings push their way through the gaps in the stone work. The building is surrounded by a jungle of vegetation and fallen trees.  What a sad state this building is in.

Here we have two small buildings crying out for attention, both of which would make a great place for someone to live in, or as very popular holiday rentals. If only their owners would place them on the open market I'm sure they would be snapped up at once! 

-piece written by Tim James

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