Settled on Scilly

The Isles of Scilly are connected to the rest of Britain by ferry from Penzance (summer only) and plane / helicopter from Land’s End, Newquay or Exeter.  These, along with a thrice weekly cargo delivery, all arrive to the main island of St Mary’s.

The population of the Scilly Isles is dispersed across 5 inhabited islands – St Mary’s, St Martin’s, St Agnes, Tresco and Bryher.  The off-islands, as the others are called, each have a well-stocked shop / post office, a pub, a church and a regular connection to St Mary’s, weather permitting.

The islands have primary schools (Bryher pupils travel the short distance across to Tresco) but for secondary school the children go to St Mary’s for the week, returning home for weekends.

Each island also has a fire station, which operates as a general emergency centre, with access to coastguard and first aid.  There is a hospital on St Mary’s, which has a minor injuries unit, but anything major requires a helicopter ride to the mainland.

St Mary’s has the main settlement – Hugh Town.

Here you find all the shops and services that you would expect in a small town.

It even has a rush hour – just before the departure of the boats to the off-islands.

Where? – 13 – Seaside Resorts

A few weeks ago, we found out the location of some coastal towns that are ferry ports.  We are at the coast again today, but these towns are more known as seaside resorts.

I have tried to pick resorts that have been popular for years – the sort of places that the Victorians built railways to, to connect them to the cities.  Britain’s biggest towns all had railway links to the coast and these are some of the places that the trains visited.

Print out a blank outline map.  You can use the one below.

The best way to learn where things are is to put them on a map, but if I just give you a completed map, that won’t help much, so grab a blank map and a pencil, and find somebody for a bit of competition.

For each resort, put a small circle where you think it is and write the name next to the circle.

  1. Bangor (Northern Ireland)
  2. Blackpool
  3. Bournemouth
  4. Brighton
  5. Bundoran
  6. Clacton
  7. Clonakilty
  8. Curracloe
  9. Dunoon
  10. Eastbourne
  11. Great Yarmouth
  12. Llandudno
  13. Margate
  14. Morecambe
  15. Portobello
  16. Portrush
  17. Rhyl
  18. Scarborough
  19. Skegness
  20. Southend
  21. Southport
  22. Torquay
  23. Tramore
  24. Weston-Super-Mare
  25. Weymouth

When you are ready, scroll down, past my pictures, to find the answers.  If you are having a competition, then 2 points if your spot touches mine.  If everyone is way out, then the nearest gets 1 point.

Blackpool
Distant Weymouth

I’m not emailing out a map this week.  You should be able to create your own version, on a blank outline map, using the coast as a guide.

St Winefried’s Well

St Winefried’s well is located at Treffynnon. Tref = settlement; ffynnon = well or spring, so that makes sense. However, the town’s English name, Holywell, shows the reason for its inclusion as one of the seven wonders of Wales.

The spring is said to have risen where St Beuno restored to life his niece, St Winefried, after she was beheaded by a rejected suitor. As such it became a site of pilgrimage, for healing, with many notable visitors, including royalty.

The 15th century building straddles the spring. The lower, open crypt contains the well.

Above is a chapel, which from the other side is at ground level, because of the way it is built against the hillside.

Originally the spring flowed out and away down the valley. The statue stands where the stream once flowed.

Today the water is directed into a bathing pool.

The outflow was measured in the 18th century to be 7.6 million gallons of water per day. So not only was there a tourist industry, based on the pilgrimage site, but there was also thriving manufacturing industry in the short 1½ mile valley from the spring to the sea, with the stream being dammed several times to control its flow.

Close to the fresh spring, St Winefried’s brewery operated until 1930, and further downstream there were up to 19 factories. Metalworking and textiles were the main industries. There was so much activity that a railway branch line was opened in 1869.

The flow of visitors grew through the 19th century. Perhaps the poem was an effective tourist advert. However, at the same time the flow of the stream started to decrease and in 1917 it dried up completely.

This happened because mining, in the hills above the town, had changed the route of the underground stream, directing it away from the spring. Of course it couldn’t be left dry – Holywell’s thriving tourist industry would have vanished too. So another underground stream was channeled in to restore the flow.

Today you can visit the pilgrimage site in Holywell, and further down the valley the industrial site is now a 70 acre country park, the Greenfield Valley Heritage Park.

Llangollen Bridge

Next in my Wonders of Wales series is the bridge in Llangollen.

Nestled within the Dee valley, the town of Llangollen grew up at a point where it was possible to bridge the River Dee.

The rocky river bed at this point channels the river and makes for good foundations.

The river was probably first bridged here in the 12th century, giving access to the site that was to become Valle Crucis Abbey.

The first stone bridge was built in 1282. It was rebuilt several times over the years but some of the bridge of today dates from the 16th century, resulting in its status as a Grade I listed building and scheduled ancient monument.

There have been a number of modifications over the years. In the 1860’s a railway was built along the north bank of the river and the bridge was extended with an extra arch to cross the railway line.

Originally traffic consisted of the packhorse. However traffic increased, both in terms of size and amount. Thus the bridge was widened both in 1873 and again in 1968. They did this by reconstructing the upstream side of the bridge. Today’s bridge is nearly three times the width of the original 16th century construction.

Here’s a picture of each side. You can see the differences in the stonework.

Stonework on downstream side
Stonework on upstream side

Llangollen Bridge is still an important routeway. It carries a major road and much traffic across the Afon Dyfrdwy, (River Dee) to join the A5, London to Holyhead road, which follows the valley on the southern side.

Where? – 7 – Historic Towns

We’ve already found the locations of 20 of the largest towns in the British Isles but there are some smaller places that you likely have heard of, maybe in a history context.  But do you know where they are?

Print out a blank outline map.  You can use the one below.

The best way to learn where things are is to put them on a map, but if I just give you a completed map, that won’t help much, so grab a blank map and a pencil, and find somebody for a bit of competition.

For each town, put a small circle where you think it is and write the name next to the circle.

  1. Armagh
  2. Bath
  3. Caernarfon
  4. Cambridge
  5. Canterbury
  6. Carlisle
  7. Cashel
  8. Chester
  9. Dalkey
  10. Dunfermline
  11. Durham
  12. Greenwich
  13. Kells
  14. Lancaster
  15. Lincoln
  16. Oxford
  17. Portsmouth
  18. Roscrea
  19. Salisbury
  20. Stratford
  21. Stirling
  22. Warwick
  23. Westminster
  24. York

Arguably all towns are historic towns so if you think I’ve missed a good one add it to your map.

When you are ready, scroll down, past my pictures, to find the answers. My inland spots may not be spot on, so give yourself 2 points if you are within 1cm (you may be closer than me!) If you are having a competition, and everyone is way out, then the nearest gets 1 point.

Caernarfon
Cashel
Westminster
Stratford
Oxford
York

Check your inbox for a map with all the dots in roughly the right place, ready for labelling. (Scroll up and fill in the form in the side bar if you want to be added to my mailing list.) Though if you have been following this series from the beginning, you should by now be an expert at copying the dots into the right place, on a blank map, using only the coastal outline to help you.