The fictional character, Cadfael, is a Welsh Benedictine monk living at Shrewsbury Abbey in the first half of the 12th century.The historically accurate stories are set between about 1135 and about 1145. We offer one, two, and three-day tours where we drive through countryside largely unchanged since Cadfael’s days and we try to transport you back 800 years to these times.
A Morbid Taste for Bones; Raven in the Foregate, Leper of St. Giles, Heretic’s Apprentice, Monk’s Hood, Dead Man’s Ransom; & Summer of the Danes.
Much of this route is that taken by the procession of St.Winifred’s bones on their journey to Shrewsbury Abbey, and starts with a short visit to Cadfael’s ‘Home’, Shrewsbury Abbey, where we will tell you about the real history and how well it is reflected in the Chronicles. We will point out the likely locations of Wat’s Tavern, Judith Perle’s House (Rose Rent), Cadfael’s workshop, the Refectory pulpit and the start of the Abbey Foregate (Raven in the Foregate, and many others). We travel along the Foregate passing Bishop Roger de Clinton’s house (Leper of St. Giles) and the tallest Doric column in the World before pausing briefly at St. Giles’ Church (Leper of St. Giles) before leaving Shrewsbury on our way to Wales. We will pass one of the possible locations of Godric’s Ford Nunnery and follow Thomas Telford’s 19th century Holyhead Road through tranquil Shropshire countryside until we turn to Hugh Beringar’s home estate at Maesbury. We next start climbing from the flat agricultural lands of Shropshire into the foothills of the Berwyn Hills. We pass near the Commote of Llansilin, near Mallilie,(Monk’s Hood) and the Abbey’s sheepfolds at Rhydycroesau (Dead Man’s Ransom) and climb through the remote countryside hills with very narrow roads before descending into Owain Glyndwr’s stronghold of Tregeiriog. (Dead Man’s Ransom) and then following the River Ceriog to Glyn Ceriog where we start our steep climb to the ridge of the Berwyn Hills, with outstanding views on both sides, and then descending into the beautiful Welsh market town of Llangollen.
We usually stop here for lunch and with a chance to look around this riverside town. The Cambrian mountains loom in front of us and we drive up the precipitous Horseshoe Pass, passing the remains of the Cistercian Valle Crucis Abbey, on the route the monks would have used to travel to and from Holywell. (Morbid Taste for Bones)
On our return to Shrewsbury we stop at Whittington Castle which dates back to before the Norman Conquest in 1066 and is typical of fortifications along the Welsh/ English Border.
We also stop at the British Ironworks, which is a most unusual attraction – almost indescribable!
Tour 1 Addition. The Summer of the Danes; Morbid Taste for Bones.
This addition involves leaving the Tour 1 route at Llangollen and driving through the mountains of Snowdonia towards the Menai Strait between Anglesey and mainland Wales to visit the place where the Danes landed (Summer of the Danes) and made their camp. We will stay overnight in Caernarfon with a chance to see the spectacular Castle, where Prince Charles was inaugurated as Prince of Wales.
The following morning, we drive along the Strait passing Thomas Telford’s magnificent Menai Bridge and Robert Stephenson’s Britannia Bridge,to Owain Gwynedd’s camp at ‘Aber‘ . We continue along the scenic coastline until we reach Conwy with its spectacular 13th century castle, and we turn inland and follow the River Conwy to Cadfael’s birthplace at Trfriw.
We will slowly drive through here before going through the narrow roads to St. Winifred’s grave at Gwytherin.
We will have a short 20-minute stroll around St Winifred’s churchyard before driving back towards the coastline at St. Asaph where we will be able to see the lovely white marble church of St. Margaret.
We will take a break for lunch before continuing to St. Winifred’s Well at Holywell where we will stop to take in all this shrine has to offer.
We now turn inland through the hills to follow the route of St Winifred’s bones and rejoin the Tour 1 itinerary at the top of the Horseshoe Pass, Llangollen
Sanctuary Sparrow; Rose Rent; Potter’s Field; Monk’s Hood; Hermit of Eyton Forest; Raven in the Foregate; St. Peter’s Fair, Virgin in the Ice; Morbid Taste for Bones, & Leper of St. Giles.
We start with a short stop at Cadfael’s ‘Home’, Shrewsbury Abbey, (Sanctuary Sparrow & Rose Rent) before continuing along the Foregate (Leper of St. Giles, Raven in the Foregate) and crossing the River Severn with ‘The Potter’s Field‘ on our right before briefly stopping at Haughmond Abbey and then tracing Edwin
Gurney’s route where he led the Sheriff’s men.(Monk’s Hood)
We continue through Atcham (St. Peter’s Fair) and pause at the remains of the Roman City of Wroxeter. Following the river through the Hermit of Eyton Forest area we pass Buildwas Abbey and drive past Ellis Peters’ house before descending into the World Heritage site of
Ironbridge Gorge and stop to visit the World’s first iron bridge.
We pass through Wenlock and St.Milburga’s Church (Morbid Taste for Bones) before arriving at Bridgnorth
The drive continues into ‘Virgin in the Ice‘ country and follows the route of Sister Hilaria and the children took to Bromfield Priory.
We usually stop in Ludlow for lunch and then make a stop at Bromfield Priory (Virgin in the Ice)to visit St. Mary the Virgin church.
This tour takes in many of the places from 10 of the Chronicles and allows us to ‘step back’ in time through countryside largely unchanged since Cadfael’s time. We also see the first ‘Black & White’ house in the UK and find out how Bronze Age man found his way around the country.
We also visit the ancestral home of a signatory of the ‘Declaration of American Independence’ and his descendant who was a leader in the American Civil War. Also the site of the first ever English Parliament meeting.
Our route now takes us back to Shrewsbury through very scenic countryside ,and a likely site of Godric’s Ford, before passing St. Giles’ Church before rejoining the Abbey Foregate.
All tours listed are examples: we put together a tour tailored to your needs, simply tell us what interests you, or let us suggest some options.
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