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Saturday, 17 August 2013

Castell Henllys- Iron Age Fort, Pembrokeshire, Wales #CountryKids



On Thursday, we visited Castell Henllys, a local reconstructed Iron Age Fort.

 We put our right hands up, shouted "Ah!" all the way around the time travel spiral and found ourselves immersed in an Iron Age World.

 Everything was just as it had been during Celtic times, we looked rather out of place with our raincoats and fleeces made out of plastic, as opposed to wool, our clothing put together with zips and buttons, instead of simply tied, and I had a rather strange contraption of a buggy that I was using to push Izzy up the steep hill to the fort.


 The Celts must have sensed we were friendly as they allowed us up the hill without attack, we also passed through the gates where they would hold any visitors to the fort until they were sure that they meant no harm.

We passed this Pagan Wickerman.  On one visit, we saw heads on sticks outside the Roundhouses, to show us what brave, strong Celts we were visiting- and to warn us that any wrong move and our heads may become their next trophy.


Photo by Makala Doughty

The infamous roundhouses are the only ones in the UK that have been built in exactly the same way as the original Iron Age dwellings.


I love how, unlike our generation, the Celts left very little clues behind.  Most of their belongings were organic and as they died out, broke down naturally into the land that they had farmed and tended.

One of the biggest clues they left  behind for us was actually space, fresh air, nothingness-  the holes in the ground where the original roundhouse posts had once been! 

Photo by Makala Doughty
The Roundhouses really give us an insight into everyday life of the Celts.  Archaeological digs are ongoing at Castell Henllys and they are always discovering more and more to interpret of our past.

Just as when we learn that Paleontologists have mixed up the bones of different dinosaurs so our favourite one could never have existed, at Castell Henllys, as the archaeologists unearth more and more evidence, it helps them to rethink the past.  I find that so fascinating and think it is the biggest lesson in history that we should learn.

The kids loved climbing up into this little roundhouse- the  Granary.

 

This roundhouse was built off the ground to keep the corn safe from mice, rats and fox.


A wickerman/scarecrow also protects their grain.  You can make bread from scratch at Castell Henllys, we have done this before and watched a group on this visit as they grinded the wheat between two stones, mixed it with water into a dough and placed it on a skillet on the fire to cook.


In the Chieftain's Roundhouse, we listened to a story around the fire.  She told the story of Rhiannon

Photo by Makala Doughty

As the Celtic Story teller spun us a yarn, the Blacksmith smelted metal to make Celtic Jewellery, such as Torcs.



We were shown were the Woad was grown before the kids had their faces painted with it.  This would have been mixed with wee to make the ancient face paint.


She let us take a couple of seeds home.  I was very pleased as I did buy some a while ago that didn't take.  I'm sure I'll have more luck with these "fresh" seeds.  It will be fun to boil up the leaves and make a blue dye.


As she painted their faces, she told them which God or Goddess, they had been given the power of.  Danny had the God of Fire.


Celtic Warrior Danny.  When you visit with school, you get to wear shawls too.  I wish you could hire these for day trips as they help you to look and feel the part.




Celtic Warrior Jack!

Jack, Danny and Katie turned their hands to some Celtic Crafts.  They made these lovely flowers.



It took quite a lot of concentration to pull a petal, without cutting it off.
 

The skilled lady working with them was very patient and didn't even get a break as the queue was relentless.

Photo by Makala Doughty
Photo by Makala Doughty
 I imagine it must be very satisfying once the flower begins to form.


Isabelle looked on.


Rebecca explored the nature of the land.



Danny shows his "Flower", he was more interested in if he could keep a pointy stick, made as a by product.  She kindly said yes, as long as he was careful.


Izzy liked Danny's flower, mmm smells nice!


Google Plus Auto Awesome made this Gif of Izzy!


The afternoon went quickly. As we made our way down from the fort, Danny decided to walk through the River Duad (Nant Duad).


A Celt walked past and asked if she gave him her spear, would he catch her a fish for dinner.  He would have loved that!



Danny eventually emerges back onto dry land!   No fish in hand!


We retraced our steps back over the spiral path.


We shouted our names as we stood on the centre stone, and as we trailed off the end of the spiral, we found ourselves back in the 21st Century again with modern amenities, such as toilets and a shop!


Look at Danny emptying all the water out of his welly!
Photo by Makala Doughty
















As you know, I love to stop on the Preseli Hills or Mountains on my way home, but it was pretty wet and windy!  Izzy couldn't keep her eyes open!  The kids soon asked to sit back in the car and there wasn't much of a view with all the fog, so we were very quickly on our way home!

Photo by Makala Doughty

Our Celtic Warriors had a great day!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

3 comments:

  1. I love this post, it looks like such a great day and a real trip back in time to experience it in it's full. The best way to learn about history without doubt. Wonderful photos and what lucky children to have experienced this day.

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  2. That looks fantastic, a real family day out. I think it's great that your boys joined in with everything, my 2 oldest boys aren't so keen any more and I do miss those times :)
    Love the photo of the little one triumphant with the flower!

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  3. I love these sorts of hands on places, and am often amazed at the patience these people display day in day out while the children join in the activities like making the flower. Some amazing photographs, and I had a laugh at the sport of welly emptying, thanks for sharing this great day out

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